Major donations allow work to be completed on Newport Minster

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MAJOR donations worth more than £1.5m will mean that the work to restore and refurbish Newport Minster can be completed.

The Isle of Wight parish has announced two major grants from funding bodies and a significant private donation that will signal the final transformation of the minster into a modern place of worship, at the heart of the island community.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund will contribute £869,000 towards the building work, while a generous grant from the National Churches Trust amounts to almost £586,000. Added to that is a donation from a private benefactor that amounts to £100,000.

The cash will be spent on plugging leaks, repairing stonework, cleaning stained-glass windows, restoring monuments, and refurbishing the cafe, church and facilities. This will enable the building to be used more often by local schools and community groups.

Stuart McLeod, a director for the National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “We are delighted to support the Grade I listed Newport Minster and help them secure its future, as well as implement an ambitious programme of activities to engage local schools and community groups.

“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, a grant of £869,000 will enable the principal church of the Isle of Wight restore its building and remove it from the Historic England Heritage At Risk Register.” 

And Claire Walker from the National Churches Trust: “This saves the church and offers a new lease of life, strengthening it’s community-gathering role for all who live, work and visit the Island.”  

And the chair of the Friends of Newport Minster, Jacqueline Gazzard, added, “As our supporters know, this has been a marathon, but this is good news for the whole Island community. The money we are raising means we are in touching distance of completing the whole funding, thus bringing this sleeping beauty back to life and completing a mammoth project.” 

Local Island firm Stonehams will repair the roof within the next few weeks, and then oversee restoration of the stone facade. By summer, with the building watertight, the minster will be ready to start on interior work in early 2023, which includes adding much needed toilets and heating, as well as conservation of the monuments and window repairs. 

New seating is planned to allow greater flexibility and open up the space all year round, for events and exhibitions to support the Island. Some additional funding may be needed to complete this work and the minster hopes to raise the funds through sponsorship and sale of a limited number of items.

By the end of 2023, the plan is for Newport to have a minster and civic building which is bursting with potential and ready for 21st century community activities and events. For more information, or to donate, please see: https://newportminster.org/support/donate/, call (01983) 559257 or email campaign@newportminster.org.