Trustees and staff at Glastonbury Abbey are celebrating success on the Lottery. The Abbey has been awarded £49,200 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project to repair and enhance the 16th century almshouse chapel of St Patrick, which is situated in the Abbey grounds.
'The damp, peeling plaster is actively harming the fabric of this medieval building and giving it a very sad, neglected air.' said Dr Robert Dunning, chairman of the Abbey Trustees. 'This project will not only stop the decay, it will also recreate the feel of a medieval chapel, when the use of colour and decoration would have produced a vibrant, inspiring space.'
The truly exciting part of the project is that it will involve young people from the community, giving them a chance to acquire new skills and become involved in the preservation of the most iconic site in Somerset.
Teams will be recruited to work with specialist conservation builders to strip away harmful cement renders and replace them with lime-based products. Other youngsters will work with a professional mural painter and a stained glass artist to design decorative motifs for the walls and east window of the chapel.
'There is a great shortage of craftsmen skilled in the use of traditional building repair techniques, so we thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to introduce youngsters to a range of skills to encourage them to train further in this rewarding field.' added Dr Dunning. 'We have had tremendous encouragement for the project from a range of agencies that help young people get a foot on the jobs ladder. It is wonderful that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us its backing too.'
The Chapel is used for services every week and is an oasis of calm on the busy Abbey site. The project will last nearly 18 months. Visitors to the Abbey will be able to see work in progress and learn more about it through a number of lectures that will be given over the life of the project, when it gets underway.
It is anticipated the project will actually commence around August/September 2008.
Watch this space for updates on progress!