Friday 04 October 2019 12:30:45 PM

Portaferry Church Awarded Almost £1million for Restoration
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Two new local heritage projects are to get underway in the coming weeks after securing more than £1million in grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), it was announced today.

Ambitious plans by the Friends of Portaferry Presbyterian Church to restore this building were recognised with the award of a £935,700 grant.

The Portaferry Presbyterian Church in the heart on the town on the shore of Strangford Loiugh.

The Portaferry Presbyterian Church in the heart on the town on the shore of Strangford Loiugh.

Welcoming the award, Ian McDonnell from the Friends of Portaferry Presbyterian Church, said: “This is a huge vote of confidence by HLF for our vision for this building – one of the UK’s finest examples of the Greek Revival period.  We can now restore this unique and beautiful building and open it up as a ‘one-stop’ centre where everyone can explore the vast wealth of historical artefacts and access the heritage and genealogy of the Upper Ards.

“We will also continue to stage and expand our promotion of the arts and culture through concerts, talks and travelling displays opening up the building for use not only by the local Presbyterian Community but by all members of the local community and the many people who visit our region every year.”

Commenting on the announcement, Head of HLF Northern Ireland, Paul Mullan, said: “We know that projects like the ones benefiting from our latest investment can have a huge impact on local communities.  They aid regeneration, create opportunities for people to get involved through volunteering and transform perceptions by enabling people to learn more about their own or other people’s heritage.

“The plans to conserve and breathe new life into Portaferry Presbyterian Church, will undoubtedly reap many benefits for local people.”

Portaferry Presbyterian Church, a grade A listed building of national importance is one of the finest examples of the Greek Revival style building in Great Britain and Ireland.  Built in 1841, building has served one of the oldest congregations in Ireland which was formed as part of the Army Presbytery in 1642.

The new project will involve a programme of urgent, conservation-led repairs to restore and safeguard the building.  Repairs will be made to the roof and windows, and key details such as the historic paint scheme, including the Greek Revival stencilling and marbling, will be reinstated.

The restoration of the building will play a pivotal role in the regeneration of Portaferry and the wider area.  It will act as a focus for community activities and events, hosting an enhanced programme of concerts and arts events in celebration of the strong musical heritage of area.  The building will include a dedicated exhibition space which will house permanent and travelling exhibitions raising awareness of the diverse social, economic and environmental histories of the Upper Ards and Strangford Lough.

(Since 1994 the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £173million to over 1,000 projects across Northern Ireland.)

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