A Hove church has received an Easter boost with the award of a grant towards the £120,000 cost of vital restoration work.
All Saints, on the corner of The Drive and Eaton Road, has been given a National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant of £40,000 to help restore the building’s two east towers.
Despite the challenges of the coronavirus crisis, the church hopes that the urgent project can be completed by September.
It is part of a bigger scheme to preserve the fabric of the sandstone building which has cost more than £250,000 over the past three years.
The vicar of All Saints, Father Ryan Green, said: “We are extremely thankful for the generosity of the National Churches Trust in assisting us in this very significant restoration project.
“All Saints is a grade I listed building of national significance and the state of our east towers has recently meant that our heritage has been at risk.”
Father Ryan said, who became the vicar almost three years ago, said: “The columns fell off the south side in my first year.”
As a result, the restoration plans had to be rescheduled around the more urgent remedial work.
He said: “The building is an absolute gem. But it is fragile and we live with that day to day. The money we are spending is an investment in our life together. We do have to look after it.
“The bishop describes it as the biggest sandcastle in Sussex. It’s an amazing crumbly old building.
“But one of our biggest challenges as a church is being accessible and forward looking and being there for our community.”
Father Ryan added: “This is the end of the emergency work that we need to do. I’m very grateful for the generosity of the parish community and these amazing grant-making organisations over the past three years.
“We can now stabilise our towers and look to the future as we continue to be a gathering place for our community to experience the beauty and mystery of God and to feel the embrace of his inclusive love.”
Church wardens Ann Joyce and Adrian Herbert said: “This is brilliant news that has alleviated a great deal of anxiety, particularly at this difficult time, that will ensure the continuation of a wonderful church and its vibrant community in Hove. We are most grateful to the National Churches Trust.”
The broadcaster and journalist Huw Edwards, vice-president of the National Churches Trust, said: “I’m delighted that All Saints Church, Hove, is being helped with a £40,000 National Churches Trust grant.
“The important work to repair two east towers will help secure the future of this really important historic building which is currently on the Historic England ‘At Risk Register’.
“The UK’s historic churches and chapels are a vital part of our national heritage. During the coronavirus pandemic churches are doing so much to help vulnerable local people and boost morale.
“Many churches need to carry out urgent repairs and install modern facilities to ensure their buildings can continue to be used well into the future.
“But the cost of this work is often far beyond what most congregations can pay for themselves.”
In all, 31 churches and chapels will benefit from the latest grants from the National Churches Trust, the charity supporting church buildings of all Christian denominations across Britain.
These grants are the first made in 2020. Last year the National Churches Trust distributed more than £1.2 million to 176 churches and chapels around the country.
All Saints was previously given a £36,000 grant by the Headley Trust for work on its Victorian windows.