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St Mary Magdalene Restoration Fund

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Paddington community and heritage hub hits major funding milestone

An innovative new scheme to create a community and heritage hub in the heart of Westbourne Green in Paddington – one of the most religiously and culturally diverse wards in London – has reached a major milestone as the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded the project a £3.6m grant.

The St Mary Magdalene Development Project is a joint initiative between the Paddington Development Trust and St Mary Magdalene Church which will transform the church building into a heritage, community, culture and arts hub in order to enrich, regenerate and bring greater cultural cohesion to the local area.

The new facility – which breaks new ground in putting Christian buildings at the heart of both Christian and non-Christian communities – will deliver a new Heritage and Community Wing providing access and visitor facilities, a learning space, and a café opening onto the Grand Union canal; a cultural venue with a rich and varied programme of events; and an affordable flexible space for use by local groups and residents.

The project will also deliver a substantial learning, volunteering and training programme, developed with the close involvement of local community organisations. The new facilities and the church itself will provide an inspiring learning environment, used regularly by local schools and adult learners.

There will be:
•    A changing programme of events, including drop-in family activities and heritage-focussed lunch club sessions in the new café for older people.
•    Formal training opportunities including apprenticeships and work placements; as well English classes and sessions in history, architecture and art.
•    200 volunteering opportunities suiting different interests including research, conservation, and customer service.

Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, said:
“Since the introduction of the Grand Union Canal more than 200 years ago, Paddington has been a transport hub resulting in an incredibly diverse community and a rich cultural story. Thanks to National Lottery players this project will secure the future of St Mary Magdalene at the heart of that community, providing opportunities and space for people of all ages, faiths and backgrounds.”
Based on the strong community benefits, Westminster City Council has committed support to the project.

Cllr Robert Davis MBE DL, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for the Built Environment, said:
“Winning this grant is a superb achievement that will make a real difference to the local community. This is a shining example of how we can work together with our much valued local partners to provide community benefits and restore a major historic building for Westminster. Westminster City Council is pleased to have been able to throw our weight behind this incredibly worthwhile project.”

Local MP Karen Buck commented:
“This is great news for the local Westbourne multi-faith community, and for London’s heritage.”

In addition to community regeneration, the HLF grant will also support restoration of the church building. St Mary Magdalene Church is a Grade 1 listed church and is recognised as an outstanding example of neo-Gothic architecture. Despite its historical significance, St Mary Mags, as it is fondly known by locals, is on the Historic England ‘at risk’ register and currently has no facilities for visitors or the local community. The project will enable it to continue to serve as a place of worship.

Father Henry Everett, Priest at St Mary Mags said:
“We are absolutely delighted to have secured this grant, a huge milestone for the project. We believe that the work we are now able to conduct on the church to deliver a central resource for all of Paddington’s faith or non-faith communities and restore its special architectural status is absolutely vital as the need for greater cultural cohesion in the Capital grows.”

Neil Johnston, Chief Executive, Paddington Development Trust added:
“The area of London in which this project sits, the diversity of the community which it will serve and the focus both on community cohesion and architectural beauty makes this project truly unique and transformative. What has also made this project so special is that it has been driven by the grassroots, including local faith groups, notable residents and the PDT team on the ground.”

Aalaa Al-Memar, a resident and parent governor at a local primary school, commented:
“We need this type of project. I’m happy from my heart that it can go ahead. It’s right in the middle of the community and will bring together different cultures and religions, sharing experiences and ideas. These chances to come together so that we know each other are so important.”

The HLF grant, plus the support of Westminster Council and generous donations from charitable trusts and foundations as well as individuals, both local and from further afield, forms a vital part of a £7.3m fundraising target to deliver the project. Fundraising continues to raise the remaining £1.25m. Anyone wishing to make contributions can visit www.marymags.org.uk.

Subject to formal ‘Permission to Start’ from HLF the project will move ahead this autumn – with detailed architectural design work and community and volunteering activities. Building works are expected to take 12 months, with the target date for opening the new facilities being June 2018.

Mary Mags New Learning and Heritage Centre

Notes to editor

St Mary Magdalene Church
St Mary Magdalene Church sits in the heart of Westbourne Green. Built in the 1860s -70s by G.E. Street, this Grade 1 Listed building is recognized as an outstanding example of neo-Gothic architecture and decoration and one of the finest by an architect whose work is universally recognised as one of the best of the age, which places it in the same category as St Paul’s Cathedral or the Palace of Westminster. The building has an almost completely intact internal decorative scheme of the highest quality, including the later addition of the Chapel of St Sepulchre by Sir Ninian Comper (1864-1960) in the undercroft and additional architectural contributions by Martin Travers (1886-1948).

Paddington Development Trust
Since 1997, PDT has been a driving force in the regeneration of North Paddington, working hand in hand with local people to develop and deliver services that local people need and want.  PDT has directly raised £40m and levered in an additional £100m for the provision of youth, educational, employment, enterprise, adult services and new local facilities, including a capital partnership programme including two iconic centres, Westminster Academy, and the Stowe Centre. Through the St Mary Mags project, in partnership with the PCC, PDT is pioneering new legislation allowing consecrated churches to be leased, and piloting new and sustainable ways to manage endangered historic churches.

Westbourne Ward, Paddington
Westbourne Ward is the second most deprived ward in London.  60% of residents in the Westbourne Ward of Paddington are of origins other than white British, with 43% born outside UK. 83% of Westbourne children under 15 belong in families that are dependent on workless benefits – the highest proportion of any ward in London. Though the adjoining primary school is C of E, the majority of pupils who attend are not Christian.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk @heritagelottery

For more information please contact Toby Gale – email: toby@pdt.org.uk, or phone 020 3214 3120.

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St Mary Magdalene Church & Paddington Heritage Centre
A Victorian Jewel in the 21st century London

Mary Magdalene Church Paddington

St Mary Magdalene Church Built by G.E. Street, is a Grade 1 Listed building on the English Heritage ‘at risk’ register. It is recognised as an outstanding and important example of neo-Gothic architecture and decoration.

PDT is opening up the the Church to performance groups, artists and choirs on sustainable terms for two years while restoration planning takes place.

For further information contact Toby Gale at www.toby@pdt.org.uk

The St Mary Magdalene Living Heritage Appeal has launched, see www.marymags.org.uk

The long term project 2014 – 2016

The St Mary Magdalene project will secure the future of a landmark historic buiding and will restore a unique national heritage site. It  will activate a response to an acute need for heritage and cultural facilities in Westminster’s poorest neighbourhoods. At the same time this historic building will connect local people and visitors with Paddington’s rich and complex history in London, and provide wider opportunities for cultural discovery and expression. The project is a community-driven initiative to bring the benefits of faith and heritage into one of the most deprived parts of the UK; unearthing stories of migration, poverty, and social action alongside the development of one of the world’s great transport termini at Paddington.

In September 2013 the project was awarded a round one pass by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), with a development phase grant of £263,000 towards the development of plans and designs; Westminster City Council has pledged £1,000,000 and Lottery has £2,975,800 earmarked subject to a successful round two application; this is expected in early 2015 following further fundraising to secure the additional £750,000 needed to complete the project.

Paddington’s Living Heritage at St Mary Magdalene is led by PDT in partnership with St Mary Magdalene Church Parochial Church Council (PCC), and with active support from the Diocese of London and Westminster City Council. Key stakeholders include Westminster Academy, Stowe Youth Centre, Stowe Health Centres, Westminster Adult Education Service, Westminster Arts, Voluntary Centre Westminster, Paddington Station, Westbourne Neighbourhood Forum. The adjoining St Mary Magdalene Primary School is a key partner providing direct access to the church from the school.

We will deliver ground-breaking learning and training programmes to new audiences and underpinned by a sustainable management and business model, our project will create a lasting, living legacy.

Mary Magdalene Church Paddington

The project will deliver:

  1. conservation of the historic fabric of the church building;
  2. a new Heritage Wing providing access and visitor facilities, learning workshop, and canalside café;
  3. wider cultural regeneration (exhibitions, concerts and events).
  4. facilities for heritage interpretation and understanding, in both the church and the wing;
  5. and a learning, training, and activity programme for residents and visitors

The redevelopment of St Mary Magdalene’s Church will have a transformative impact on Westbourne Green and the wider Paddington area providing:

· A signature facility adding a sustainable cultural legacy to regeneration in North Westminster.

· High profile physical improvements to the built environment in the Westbourne Green housing renewal area.

· Extensive volunteering and training programmes providing skills development and progressions to employment.

· Stimulus to economic activity.

· Enrichment of community learning and activity programmes.

Our potential audiences  include the millions of people who travel through Paddington each year; those working or living 10 minutes walk away in the Paddington Basin developments; and people in neighbouring areas. As well as the general public, particular groups benefiting will be:

  • victorian heritage and church scholars
  • cultural tourists
  • heritage outreach groups
  • London performance artists
  • cultural audiences
  • museum and cultural practitioners