In 2015, a survey indicated that we had to make urgent repairs to St Mary’s – the roof, render and other parts of the fabric were in poor condition.
But after extensive consultation with the wider community, a more comprehensive vision emerged: a ‘Creative Church for a Creative Community’ – a restored building, open throughout the week, filled with creative activity.
In December 2022, we reopened St Mary’s after 12 months of building works – a project which was supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and led by Focus Consultants, Matthew Lloyd Architects and Borras Construction. Our restored and enhanced church building now includes our Parish Offices, an Exhibition Space, and a cafe run by our commercial partners, Froth & Rind, alongside many other improvements – from regenerated meeting spaces and permanent history displays to additional toilets, improved lighting and underfloor heating.
Since reopening, St Mary’s, with support from the Heritage Fund, has also delivered a range of free creative activities to the whole community to support our Creative Church vision, and we are looking for ways to make our arts and culture programme financially viable in the long term, with the goal of curating regular shows in our Exhibition Space as well as offering an ongoing programme of live music in addition to arts workshops, talks and panel discussions.