THOUSANDS of pounds of lottery money have brought a church closer to its fundraising target and new clock tower dream.
The Holy Trinity Church, in West Street, Fareham has been desperately trying to raise half a million pounds so that it can fix its clock, build a new tower and convert some of the church into a more flexible community space.
It launched a project called High Time in May last year which this week received a huge £214,000 boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
This will be added to development funding of £28,800 awarded by the fund in December 2013, and brings the church to nearly halfway of its total target.
The Rev Sally Davenport and her team are delighted by the successful bid. She said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled and relieved as this sets us well on our way to our target and to achieving our dream.’
The project will address structural problems with the church tower, as well as improving facilities inside the church.
Work will begin next month, and it should be complete by early 2016.
Essential conservation work will be carried out on the inside and outside of the church tower, including the restoration of the church’s Victorian clock, which has not been working since 2011 – its hands forever stuck at 11.
The High Time project will also improve things for visitors and make hosting events easier, with a kitchenette for providing refreshments in the church, as well as a play area for young children, and facilities for displays and exhibitions.
Mark Hoban, MP for Fareham, said: ‘I am absolutely delighted that Holy Trinity has been given this grant.
‘This is a big step towards raising the money needed to restore Holy Trinity’s clock and tower, safeguarding them for future generations.
‘Many congratulations to Sally and her team for putting a great bid together. We should be thanking them by supporting their work to complete the project.’
More fundraising events are planned such as a fashion show in Fareham Shopping Centre on April 30, and a fair at the church on May 30.
Holy Trinity Church, which is part of the Church of England, is in the Diocese of Portsmouth, and was built in 1835, when the town was expanding westwards. The church is a Grade II-listed building, and a prominent feature of West Street.