Restoration Group – Thursday 31st August ’23

By September 26th, 2023No Comments

Summary of the Minutes

Grant Applications – The Restoration Group were updated that a further grant application was being prepared in respect of the church building (phase 1) for approximately £40,000.

With regards to the hall, grant applications are being prepared for the following providers i.e., Benefact Trust, Community Regeneration Fund (Dundee City Council), Pilgrim Trust (Preservation and Conservation), Garfield Weston Foundation and Valencia Communities Fund.  All these projects are to be community focussed.

Architect’s Report on Hall – The Architect and the Structural Engineer had completed their survey of the hall and costings are now considerably lower than that provided by a previous architect.

The group viewed Architects drawings of the Hall which set out three options (A, B and C) for the position of a new lift.  

The pros and cons of all three sites were discussed leading agreement on a fourth option (agreed by the group to be B1). This would require the construction of a new lift shaft immediately adjacent to the stairwell. The group agreed with this proposal.

The option of a “platform” lift, as opposed to a conventional enclosed lift, was discussed.  He conceded that this design. Relative cost should not be an issue as the necessary funding would be raised via grants.

A short discussion then ensued with regards to financing maintenance and servicing. The group were reminded that any costings incurred by future maintenance would be met via the relevant grant bodies.

Letters of support – A fresh plea was made to the group to seek letters of support from the various communities and organisations who make use of the hall. These letters of support will prove to be excellent evidence to the various grant providers of the value and necessity of the hall and the positive impact on a wide variety of communities.

As an example, the Syro-Malabar community (Indian based Catholic Church) use the Hall on a regular basis. They are to be approached for a letter of support. 

It was also agreed to request further of letters of support from Councillors is respect of the proposed work on the Hall.

Church Organ – Fr Jim updated the group on the very detailed report prepared by Duncan Mathews of Harrison and Harrison, Organ Builders, Durham re. the Organ in St Mary’s.  The examination of the organ took place on 6th July 2023

Overall Mr Mathews seemed to be quite positive about the organ however, the overall cost of the restoration is considerable (in excess of £163,298). The restoration of this instrument would be a considerable task, and this is reflected in the anticipated cost of the work. The report stated that the result would both enhance the appearance of the west end of the building and provide long-term support to the musical life of the church and wider community. Mr. Mathew is confident of the success of this, and would be very pleased to execute it. 

Both Canon Kevin Golden and Gary White (organist) have provided their very valued and expert opinion.  Although both are enthusiastic to see the restoration of a relatively unusual instrument, both add that the number of people who would be able to play the instrument is dwindling due to the comparative ease of playing the more modern version of the instrument.  Both therefore, are of the opinion that the excessive costs would not justify the limited use.

The Group was reassured that the costs, including future maintenance would be covered by the appropriate grant providers.

The Group agreed that although very appealing, the work on the organ is not a priority. Work on the organ should be delayed until at least the end of phase 1.  The group concluded that this indeed would be a prudent course of action.

Housing Associations – An email has now been sent to Hillcrest, Caledonia, Home Group and Abertay – and email is to be sent to Sanctuary Housing.

He informed the group that before the Chief Executives of these organisations can approve a donation of any funds to the project, they must first of all seek approval from the board members at the respective board meetings. These meetings will take place in due course hence there has been no response yet from any of these organisations.

Media – DC Thomson had advertised within their “News in Brief” column in the Dundee Courier of the forthcoming fundraising event (tabletop sale) which took place on Friday 25th August 2023.

Coverage on STV News of the restoration project which was filmed on Saturday 12th August was noted.  The group were very pleased with both Mr Michael Kidd’s ‘performance’ and also the end product, which provided significant exposure of the condition of the church and also the benefit of the hall to the community.

Universities – The Group were advised that there had been no developments since the last meeting. It remained the intention to liaise with the History Department at Dundee University in order to arrange access to their archives.  Similartly it is intended to liaise with Abertay University in order to arrange to meet with a PhD student who it is hoped, will be taking on the challenge of the green spaces surrounding the church.

New means of raising funds were discussed. Parishioners, past and present would be can be provided with an opportunity to buy a “brick” for say a £50 fee.  This “brick” would be inscribed with the purchaser’s name and thereafter used to create a wall somewhere within the church estate. A lengthy discussion ensued amongst the group who were interested in where this wall would be located. It was agreed that either inside or outside the church would not be appropriate and that perhaps somewhere within the hall would be best.

This has been proved to a popular method of raising funds for other groups in the past with many people keen to leave their mark for future generations to see.

Drone footage – The Group heard that proposal for drone footage on the church and its surroundings were not as simple as first thought, It agreed that this would not necessarily be needed as this was something that was initially offered as opposed to sought after.  

Saving money where possible – it was suggested that money could be saved by making less use of paper and printer ink and by using a projector and screen for future meetings, if these were available.

Schools – A letter of support from the Headteacher of St Mary’s Primary School, in respect of the church hall.  She also took the time to inform the group of the implementation of a new structure within the school which includes five houses.  The plan is to have house tournaments and to have pupils work together in teams and in six-week blocks on a particular project.  Within this structure, it is hoped they could introduce some work within the green spaces which are planned for the church grounds.  

It was likely that these green spaces will not transpire until the conclusion of phase 1 on the exterior of the building and until the project has the appropriate individual in place to manage this area of work.  The group agreed that this would not preclude the pupils becoming engaged on a smaller scale with for example, wooden planters which Men’s Shed have previously agreed to provide.

Fabric – Heating Engineers have now installed the new heating coils at the base of the walls within the aisles of the church.  All necessary pipes are also in and only require connecting. This work should be completed within the next two weeks. 

The next stage would be the installation of the destratification fans on the ceilings.  There may be logistical problems with the installation as specialist machinery (scissor lifts) would be required.  Should this not be possible, the alternative would be the construction of scaffolding.

Three under sink heaters have been costed at £1500 for the supply and fitting. This is a considerably more modern and therefore efficient means of supplying hot water to the church house.

Fluing regulations dictated that the removal of the old boilers from the church and house was required. It is unlikely that they could be used elsewhere in the diocese but they would be put them into storage in the meantime.

The Group were shown quotations for the flat roofs. These will be used prepared the five applications for grant funding. The contractor of choice was the one who had made a time slot available to commence work once the grant applications have been submitted. 

The quotations in respect of the refurbishment of the kitchen area are £41,814 and £43,587 respectively.

Fund Raising – The “Just Giving” platform had raised £3,333 plus £597 in Gift Aid. Theincome from this platform had slowed down considerably since its inception. Every opportunity to promote the Just Giving page should be taken, particularly in respect of media coverage.

It was suggested that Sheena Wellington may be available at a relatively modest charge, she would be willing to arrange a fund raising performance in the church hall. There would be space in the calendar some time in February next year.  St Andrew’s night or the Burns afternoon are other possible dates.