June 2019 update:

Following evaluation and analysis of our questionnaire completed by parishioners and the wider community, who consider the three most important issues facing OLSM are:

  • Heating
  • External condition of the building
  • Internal decoration/condition

the Workington Stella Maris Project (WSMP) group are striving to work to achieve these goals with your help.

Heating: Renewal of the heating system work will begin this month. Please look at the accompanying details and plan.

External condition of the building: We are now on the Heritage “At Risk” register.

The most urgent structural repairs required are to the external stonework, masonry and glazing of the Sanctuary (High Altar), Altar Chapels (Our Lady’s Altar and Sacred Heart Altar), and South Transept (top right wing), which will cost around £480,000.

Despite on-going investment over the years, the church is deteriorating at a rate that we cannot arrest. 

Major funding is now required. Structural surveys and reports have been undertaken.

The project draws upon the findings and advice of Conservation Accredited Architect Mrs Elaine Blackett-Ord MA, RIBA, AABC, the Heritage Statement prepared by Architectural Historian Mr James Crowley BA (Hons) MA Antiques MA Archaeology of Buildings.

Our project aims to repair, adapt and maintain the building and put the areas which are not sacred to better use. We intend to increase and enable more people to understand, share and enjoy the history and significance of the church and its wealth of important features.

In March we learned that our latest approach to the National Lottery Heritage Fund had been rejected. Despite that disappointment, our resolve to repair and restore this beautiful church is undiminished. We will make another application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund later this year.

It is important to be aware that fund raising is a very complex, time consuming and lengthy process. The WSMP group continue to seek funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund, as well as numerous other potential funding organisations.

It is also appropriate to remember the important work that has been completed in the past three years:

  • The roof and stonework on the north transept have been repaired.                                                 Cost £30,000
  • The upper and lower roofs on the south side have been repaired.                                                      Cost £164,000
  • The driveway and path connecting the church to the priory has been repaired.                             Cost £17,000
  • Two energy efficient boilers have been installed in the cellar.                                                             Cost £25,000

With the exception of  a grant of £99,300, the rest of the cost incurred has been taken from rapidly diminishing parish reserves. This is not sustainable, and therefore external funding is required, as well as increasing income.

In 2018/19 the income from the offertory collection was £91,179  which was used on ‘everyday expenses’ to run the parish including routine maintenance.

Internal decoration/condition: The interior of the church is also an important issue to be addressed This requires using the correct and appropriate materials, which will provide future sustainability. We already have a  focus on the following significant dates:

  • 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the consecration of the Church.
  • 2026 is the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Church.

Volunteers: Thank you to those people who have already put their names forward to volunteer from the questionnaire and the Family Day, to help with: the restoration project, fundraising and future activities.

We have arranged a WSMP Supporters Evening on 10th July – see the events page for more details

If you feel that volunteering is not for you, there are other ways in which you can support the church, by considering ways in how we can increase parish funds, or support the project by considering using “Just Giving” or through a regular standing order, or by supporting/attending fund raising activities.

Remember to mark any donation clearly with “WSMP” to ensure that it is allocated to the correct “pot”.

Just Giving and our contact details can be accessed via this website (and on the Parish web site by clicking onto Stella Maris Project and select Just Giving).