WORSHIPPERS are celebrating after their church was awarded a £120,600 lottery grant for a refurbishment.
Scaffolding has already gone up around the historic St George’s Church in Portsea as repairs to its roof, stonework and windows begin.
The grant follows a £22,800 HLF last year to develop the project and a £10,000 grant from the National Churches Trust.
The Rev Belinda Davies said: ‘We’re absolutely delighted to have received a second-round funding award from Heritage Lottery Fund, without which these essential repairs would have been impossible to carry out at this time.’
The £167,000 project also includes refurbishing the toilets, installing a timeline along the south wall, new leaflets for adults and children and a display cabinet for some of the tools used by shipwrights when they built the church in 1753.
Mrs Davies said the restoration works were ‘phase one’ of a long-term project to improve the church’s facilities. There are also plans to install heating in the church and its halls, which would mean community activities would be able to continue through winter.
I am confident we can rise to the challenge of continuing to improve the facilitiesBelinda Davies
But Mrs Davies said more fundraising would have to take place before this part of the project could go ahead.
She said: ‘We are taking the opportunity given to us by funding to open up access from the church to refurbished toilets, which will enhance not only the appearance of the church, but also the quality of experience for those who use it.
‘Phase one of the project has taken about five years’ work.
‘Now that we can see a physical change to the building and our plans coming to fruition, I hope we may be encouraged and experienced enough to tackle the challenge of installing an effective and efficient heating system in the church.’
‘This is going to involve more fundraising, but as an important building in this community, and with hopes of seeing the church being used by more people, I am confident we can rise to the challenge of continuing to improve the facilities.’
A group of shipwrights started construction on the church in 1753 and since then the building has been known as ‘the shipwrights’ church’.
It was badly damaged by Luftwaffe bombs in the Second World War and had to be closed until a restoration could be done in 1952.
The current project is expected to take 15 weeks.