The newly renamed Church House now known as KENNAWAY HOUSE prepares for its refurbishment in June 2008.
Trees to the front of KENNAWAY HOUSE are being cut so now you can see the historic building from the road.
£750,000 has now been raised including the grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund which will secure the works to the fabric of the KENNAWAY HOUSE.
another £250,000 is still needed to finish the job.
CAMPAIGN TO SAVE CHURCH HOUSE
The campaign to save Church House has been very successful in 2006, but –
WE STILL NEED TO RAISE ANOTHER £150,000!
In the course of the last year, the Church House Trust was offered grants of £30,000 by Sidmouth Town Council and £20,000 by East Devon District Council; then, most notably, a grant of £485,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). All of these were the result of a great deal of hard work, led by Chairman Michael James and Administrator/Treasurer John Edwards, supported by the 350 Friends of Church House. But the HLF grant was particularly significant as it was the first grant of this order ever to be awarded to Sidmouth or the surrounding area.
Thus at the end of the year, the Trust’s financial position looked much more healthy than at the beginning:
Church House restoration fund - £115,000
Heritage Lottery Fund - £485,000
EDDC grant - £20,000
Sidmouth Town Council grant - £30,000
Grants from local Charitable Trusts - £30,500
TOTAL - £680,500
The Trust has also been offered a loan of £200,000 over 25 years by the District Council. We are not keen to leave our successors with a loan of that size to repay. The normal operation of Church House after restoration could, in fact, cover loan repayments but we would prefer to borrow less. Assuming more realistic borrowing of £120,000, the Trust now has funds of £800,000 available. But the cost of restoration, allowing for inflation and contingencies, will be £950,000. We also cannot draw down the HLF grant until we have all £950,000 in place. Therefore we are very, very grateful to everyone who has given to, or raised funds for the project but we do still need to raise another £150,000.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
To have raised nearly £800,000 of the £950,000 we need is a great achievement. Having got that far, the Trustees believe that if people in Sidmouth and the Sid Valley really want Church House to remain open and in use, the balance of £150,000 can be raised by March or April 2007. They have launched a final public appeal Last Lap for Church House and our Member of Parliament, Hugo Swire has agreed to be Patron of this appeal.
If you would like to contribute please send your gift to:
Church House Trust
43 Manstone Lane
Sidmouth, EX10 9RZ.
Alternatively, there are leaflets available in the Sidmouth Herald office, the hall of Church House and the Library, which you can use to make a donation or to join the Friends of Church House, whose numbers have now grown to 350.
We are also seeking more substantial benefactions, perhaps from businesses, clubs or individuals who might sponsor the decoration and fitting out of a whole room in the building. The leaflet The Church House Trust gives you a chance to make your name part of Sidmouth’s future gives details of this. If you or an organisation/business/club with which you are connected might be interested in becoming a benefactor, we should be very glad to hear from you – just as we should from anyone with ideas as to potential benefactors or ways of contacting them. The leaflet is available in the Sidmouth Herald office, the hall of Church House and the Library.
The people to contact to discuss this with are our Chairman,
Devon EX12 3BH
Tel: 01297 680382
or our Treasurer,
43 Manstone Lane
Sidmouth, EX10 9RZ
Tel: 00395 515685
WHAT DO WE GET IF WE RAISE THE REST OF THE MONEY?
The £950,000 target will cover a full restoration job. There will be a new roof, all structural repairs needed to the walls, floors and interior of the building, new heating and electrical services, new lighting, restoration of Regency features in the principal rooms and replacement of the windows and external doors wherever necessary, with exact replicas of the original. The building will be decorated and carpeted throughout, except where proposed use makes this inappropriate. The fine Regency rooms on the ground floor will have polished wooden floors in keeping with their architectural period.
Some things are not covered and we hope they will be donated by sponsors – such as furniture, curtains and blinds.
COMPLETION OF THE PROJECT
Church House will remain open and in use until August 2007. It will be used for a major exhibition of children’s art on the theme of the Jurassic Coast (probably from 21 to 28 July), then for the International Festival in the first week of August, after which it will close. The building will then be emptied and we plan that the restoration will begin in September 2007. The Trustees are now working with the architect, Niall Phillips, to draw up final specifications, room by room, so that we can seek tenders from contractors.
Plainly the actual start of restoration still depends on raising the final £150,000. You may ask why we did not delay closing the building until we have raised this last gap in our funds? There are two reasons for the Trustees’ decision. First, the building is in such poor condition that it is simply unrealistic to keep it open for public use after next summer. Second, the Trustees feel that they have done all they can to save Church House, by running a successful public appeal and obtaining grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Town and District Councils and various Grant Giving Trusts. As indicated, we now have funds available of approximately £800,000. Having got that far, the Trustees feel that the people of Sidmouth and the Sid Valley must decide whether they really want Church House to remain open – so it truly is “now or never” for Church House.
WILL THE USE OF CHURCH HOUSE CHANGE AFTER RESTORATION?
Yes, it will. The Trustees intend that it should still be used for its present purposes – particularly the Adult Learning classes run by Devon and by independent tutors. But it is intended that it should also be used more and for a much wider range of purposes. There will be art exhibitions, both of the work of local artists and major travelling exhibitions from national collections such as Tate Modern and the Victoria and Albert Museum. There will be a room with permanent displays on the heritage and history of Church House and the people who lived in it. In collaboration with the Sid Vale Heritage Centre, there will be changing displays from the Sidmouth photographic archive and historic prints/paintings of the area on the walls. There will be a space dedicated to use by school children as a space for field work in the town and the Jurassic coast. The Regency rooms on the ground floor will provide a spectacular venue for major social occasions such as wedding receptions, civil weddings and dinners.
In short we see Church House as being a much livelier and more interesting place in the future than in the past. The Trustees’ Business Plan provides for a part-time paid Warden and part-time paid Premises Manager to develop the use of the building and run it day to day. We are also looking for some enthusiastic volunteers who could give significant time over a period of, say, two or three years to form a small Management Board to run the building. If you might be interested in doing that (or in the posts of Warden or Premises Manager) please contact our Chairman Michael James or Administrator/Treasurer John Edwards for a confidential talk.
NAME OF THE BUILDING
Will this be changed? The question is on the agenda – we are still receiving suggestions and consulting on this. Watch this space!