St Matthew’s is a wonderful medieval church that has been serving its community for hundreds of years. We are committed to enabling this to be possible far into the future.
As well as being a place where people can worship and develop their faith, it is becoming an important social and educational focus for the wider population. Following community consultations, we’ve opened up the heritage, producing interpretation boards, materials for self-guided tours and resource packs for schools. A research project involving local historians took place during 2017 and resulted in a fascinating series of lectures.
We have developed a range of new activities tailored to this small but ancient and beautiful building, including:
- festivals, e.g. a flower festival
- open days
- exhibitions, e.g. paintings by local artists
- guided tours by teenagers trained as part of their scouting or Duke of Edinburgh awards
- visits from local schools and colleges
- musical evenings
- regular community meetings, e.g. book club, holiday club, puzzle club.
Since 2011 there have been four restoration and improvement projects at St Matthew’s:
- 2011: general repairs
- 2015: new wiring and lighting
- July–November 2016: roof re-tiling, insulation and internal re-ordering to create a kitchenette and community meeting space, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund
- November 2016–February 2017: new toilet extension replacing semi-underground composting toilet (click here to see report in the Hampshire Chronicle). This includes a second exit from the church, improving fire safety; new, more efficient heating; a baby-changing unit; and facilities for flower arranging and storage. We are grateful for support from the Hampshire and the Islands Historic Churches Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation.
Please click here to view a video of the rededication service at St Matthew’s on 12 March 2017.