An historic Bexhill landmark is once again at risk of closure after it was announced that it urgently needs to raise £78,000 to cover escalating repair and renovation costs.
St Barnabas church, Cantelupe Road, faced demolition following an arsonists fire in 2005. It was rescued from being redeveloped into a block of flats and is now a Grade II listed building. The church currently has no resident senior clergy and is run by church wardens David Cosgrove and Mark Lynam. David said the financial situation is very worrying: “In order to prevent the Church from the threat of private sector use, we have to raise considerable sums for urgent building and repair work. We need to make our plight known to the local community who are unaware just how serious our situation is.”
David said St Barnabas, which was the first parish church to be built in Bexhill new town and dates back to 1887, has a number of areas of immediate concern. “As well as the heating bills part of the roof is in need of repair as is the window fronting Sea Road near the entrance.
“A second window facing South, is also in need of urgent repair. The overall estimate for repairs to all the windows could be as high as £78,000. Plumbing to an office kitchen also needs attention.”
David said although the church is able to support its general running costs, the shortfall for maintenance expenses is considerable. “The hope now is that the local community served by the church can rally round.”
St Barnabas is open daily to visitors, for private prayer, counselling, a Community Cafe, provides weekly and Sunday services and a food and clothing bank.
David added: “St Barnabas is not only a place of worship but a valuable asset for the community as a whole.”
The Friends of St Barnabas have been long-time supporters of the church, and the Cantelupe Community Association helped pay for updating facilities in the All Souls Chapel in 2010. Anyone who can help should call 01424 210036.