An historic church is in need of donations in order to pay for the upkeep of its ageing building.
St Barnabas was the first church built in Bexhill and dates back to 1887 – with renowned architect Sir A W Blomfield designing the first permanent structure four years later.
Back in 2005 it was targeted by arsonists who caused severe damage to the roof and the north west corner and the diocese considered demolishing what remained of the building and erecting a smaller replacement.
However, there was strong opposition to the plans locally and a repair programme was carried out instead. More recently a mooted closure was avoided after the community lobbied the diocese to keep it open.
Nevertheless, the church is not out of the woods just yet. Like other churches of this age maintenance can be costly and, with energy bills increasing, simple things like heating a church of its size suddenly has a larger impact on finances.
According to a letter sent to the Observer asking for people to help, the church has a number of areas of immediate concern.
As well as the heating bills part of the roof is in need of repair as does the window fronting Sea Road near the entrance.
A second window facing Sea Road, this time upstairs, also needs work – with a recent quote estimating the bill could be as high as £78,000.
And plumbing to an office kitchen also needs attention.
The hope now is that the local community served by the church can rally round.
St Barnabas holds a parish mass on Sundays from 10.30am and mass on Tuesday and Fridays from 10am. However the church does far more than simply hold regular services.
It provides counselling, organises a host of community events like tea dances, jazz evenings and table top sales, and acts as a safe haven for local homeless people or others who find themselves in difficulty for whatever reason.
Fundraisers and collections are, of course, welcome contributions to church funds, but can’t meet the cost of the necessary repair and maintenance work.
The Friends of St Barnabas have been long-time supporters of the church while the Cantelupe Community Association helped pay for updating the limited facilities in the All Souls Chapel back in 2010.
Anyone who can help should call the church on 01424 210036 or email email@example.com.
St Barnabas also has a website online at www.stbarnabasbexhill.org.uk.