Co-ordinator: Tony Mossman
Lottery support for Parish Project:
In 2017 our parish launched a project for the restoration of the church building.
Opened in 1953, our church was designed by the noted Liverpool architect Francis Xavier Velarde and is nationally recognised and designated Grade ll*, by Historic England, for its architectural design. Following surveys, the fabric of the building was found to be failing as materials had reached the end of their expected life. The cost of the restoration work was estimated to be more than half a million pounds and as parish funds fell far short of the amount needed it was decided that we would apply for a grant of Lottery monies from the Heritage Fund (HF).
A small team of parishioners was formed to manage the project and we spent several months researching the many and varied requirements needed to qualify for a grant. Besides the restoration of the church we also had to plan for activities that will benefit and involve, not just the parish community but also the wider Wallasey Village community. The two main strands to the project are the restoration works and that we will develop heritage activities by recruiting and managing volunteers and professionals to establish a wide range of activities. These include producing, in printed and digital formats, a history of the parish, an exhibition illustrating the life and work of Velarde and his characteristic architectural and design features and information panels for heritage open days and group visits.
Our team carried out research and surveys in the parish and the wider community to find out the activities which people felt are lacking in the area. As a result of this work we will be setting up community projects including a monthly Film club, lectures and talks on subjects such as the heritage of the church and its architecture and concerts given by choirs and orchestras to raise money for charities. The creation of a clearly defined but flexible space at the rear of the nave will allow the development of these community activities.
Although some of these activities are socially focused, we hope that by bringing more people into our church they will learn about our history and heritage. Also our Foodbank collection point and existing Fairtrade stall would be open whenever activities are taking place.
Discussions have been held with our local schools to explore how young people can become involved in our project. Art students from St Mary’s College, our next door neighbour, took part in a pilot project which saw them visit the church to identify interesting features of Velarde’s architecture and designs. The students then produced artwork of their interpretation of the decorative features in the church. Photography students from Weatherhead school are also involved in similar studies. Students from Ss Peter and Pauls, our parish primary school have undertaken an art project with students in years 4 to 6 who are working for their Art Award. Nine other local primary schools have also expressed their interest in being involved in similar activities.
An important part of learning about our heritage will be to record the memories of some of our older parishioners who witnessed the building of the church and the development of the parish. We would also welcome contributions from members of the local community. This project is being undertaken by media studies students who will receive training in interviewing techniques and how to use audio equipment to take oral histories. A time-lapse video and a weekly ‘vlog’ documenting the progress of the building work will be published on the website.
In 2018 welcome news was received when we were informed by the HF that we were successful in our application for an initial Lottery grant to help fund the development of our project.
Canon Philip Moor said “We were delighted to receive this support thanks to Lottery players. The Parish and its church have been at the heart of the community for more than 100 years, and it’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving it for another century.”
Now, following the appointment of a professional team to manage the restoration work and the recruitment of volunteers to help manage the community activities our team is close to submitting a second phase grant application to the HF to enable the delivery of the project.
Please continue to view the Blog pages for any updates.