Horsham church receives coronavirus stimulus grant for vital repairs
St Mary’s Church in Horsham is one of nearly 100 churches and cathedrals to share a £13 million emergency government grant.
The 13th Century town centre landmark has been awarded a £9,865 Heritage Stimulus Grant to pay for urgent repairs to the building’s boiler house roof. The national round of grants comes from the Heritage Stimulus Fund and is part of the Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, designed to support organisations in England from across the heritage ecosystem that have suffered severe loss of income as a result of Covid-19.
St Mary’s faced stiff competition as grants were made to Historic England on behalf of churches from across the country. An expert panel allocated the funding to 68 Church of England churches and cathedrals and 29 Catholic churches and cathedrals.
The Reverend Canon Lisa Barnett, the Vicar of Horsham, said: “We feel blessed to have received nearly £10,000 to fix the roof of our boiler house. It has caused us a considerable headache as rainwater has caused the boiler to stop several times in the last year. We now face a further financial challenge, as our boiler has been declared beyond repair, and we are currently looking into options for a new heating system.
“As with many in our society, our income has been severely impacted by Covid closures this year. We are hugely fortunate to have a large congregation that has supported our wonderful building financially, and our covid appeal over the summer raised almost £50,000, but the months ahead will remain challenging for us financially. While we are delighted with this award our prayers remain with those who continue to suffer as a result of the global pandemic. Our church remains open for private prayer each day between 10am-1pm, and all are welcome to enjoy the peace and prayerfulness that it offers.”
The repair work, which is due to be started within the next month, will be conducted by Horsham firm BJN Roofing.
Becky Clark, the Church of England’s director of cathedrals and church buildings said of the £13m awarded to churches and cathedrals said: “We are delighted to confirm the beneficiaries of this investment.
“This money goes into the very heart of local communities, preserving architectural and cultural heritage for a new generation while safeguarding highly-skilled jobs in a volatile economy.
“Investing in these projects is an investment in people’s lives. Whether that’s those who rely on tourism, heritage-specific employment, or people who enjoy the peace and serenity offered by these buildings.”