27 August 2010
St Matthew’s Church is the latest beneficiary of the fiscal stimulus programme.
Supported by the Department for Education, Sport and Culture, £125,000 has been allocated to part-fund the first 2 phases of a major restoration and refurbishment project at the Glass Church.
Treasury Minister Senator Philip Ozouf approved the grant on a £1 for £1 matched funding basis. The Friends of the Glass Church have already raised £140,000 towards the restoration fund.
Senator Ozouf said “I am very pleased that the fiscal stimulus fund has been able to support this project, which will ensure that one of the Island’s most important cultural assets is protected.”
St Matthew’s Church is internationally acclaimed as the only remaining and complete example of René Lalique’s heavy, clouded glass. Having seen very little other than routine maintenance over the past 70 years, the building and glass work are in urgent need of restoration and repair.
“Our aim has always been to restore this masterpiece,” said the vicar of St Matthew’s Church, the Reverend Phil Warren.
He added “We are very aware that the project will provide a unique, world-class visitor attraction for Jersey. It will ensure that the cultural legacy of the Glass Church is preserved for future generations of Islanders to enjoy, while enabling the church to continue to thrive as a vibrant, welcoming contemporary centre of Christian worship in the community.”
Education Minister Deputy James Reed said “The overall project costs are more than £1 million. I am extremely pleased that, with this allocation of £125,000 and the matched funding being provided by the Friends of the Glass Church, the first 2 phases of the restoration and refurbishment project can go ahead.
“The Glass Church forms part of our rich cultural heritage and as such it is our duty to ensure that sites such as these are protected and preserved both now and in the future.”
Reverend Warren added “We are absolutely delighted to receive this grant. We have a huge amount to raise, and so are extremely grateful for the support from the States, as well as private support.
“One of our key objectives is that the restoration and conservation works are undertaken by local business and craftspeople. Given the unique nature of the building and glass work in particular, though, some assistance from off-Island specialists in conservation will be necessary.”
The sum already raised by the Friends of the Glass Church will fund the works that require off-Island specialist expertise to restore and conserve the glass. Off-Island specialists will also be required to restore the large bells in the bell tower. The combined £250,000 for the first 2 phases will enable the preparation of the work and ensure a suitable environment to house the restored and conserved historical and cultural elements of the church for future generations.
The St Matthew’s churchwardens hope that, once the restoration and conservation of the existing church has been completed, the rest of the site will be developed to enhance the church as part of a comprehensive, purpose-built worship and conference centre.