St. Thomas’ is a beautiful church, built in the neo-classical style, designed by George Basevi and consecrated in 1825. It is a grade I listed building, located in an area of significant economic and social deprivation, and on the English Heritage “Buildings at Risk” register. People in the community love the church- and the church has a trusted and long-established presence in the area.
We offer a space of hope, welcome, encouragement, learning and community for local people and visitors from all over the UK.
St. Thomas’ church is situated in a deprived area of Stockport. It is a designated Urban Priority Area, and the local community is amongst the 5% most deprived areas in the country. We believe that the church is there for the whole community, and are passionate about serving the needs of local people. As well as church activities, we promote, organise and host a range of community activities aiming to improve community cohesion, equip young people with valuable skills, support young families, promote wellbeing, and overcome isolation in older people. Our work involves a significant cross-section of the community, and we have a growing pool of volunteers who are involved with the many facets of life at St. Thomas'. The church welcomes hundreds of visitors a year, and is used by a variety of local groups, providing a wide range of activities, events and clubs for local people to enjoy.
This project concerns the restoration of the church ceiling. The ceiling is currently in a very poor state of repair due to rainwater damage after a lead theft in the early 2000’s. The roof has since been secured, but the damage to the ceiling remains. There are several large holes in the plaster and a considerable amount of cracked plaster and flaking paintwork. We are hoping to have the ceiling completely redecorated and fully restored, so that the interior space of St. Thomas’ is more attractive and the church is preserved for future generations to enjoy.
So far, we have managed to completely restore two upper galleries, at a cost of over £6000. The work has been completed to a very high standard by a local contractor, and has already made a huge difference to the visual appeal of the building, as you can see below in these "before and after" shots.
The next phase is to carry on the restoration work to the main nave ceiling area. Works will include painting the ceilings in original period colours, plastering and full preparation etc. The repairs will keep the ceiling in perfect condition for at least the next 60 years.
The restoration of the ceilings will help make St. Thomas’ more sustainable, by increasing the usability of the space and the visual aesthetic of the church for concerts and events, etc. A number of orchestras and performing arts groups have expressed interest in using St. Thomas’ for a variety of performances, only to be put off by the poor state of the ceiling upon visiting the church which gives the space a rather neglected atmosphere. This is a huge shame, because the acoustics of the church are superb and it could easily be a leading centre for music and the arts in Stockport and further afield, to the benefit of the whole community.
The cost of the project is £10,000. We are hoping to raise the first £2500 through Crowdfunder, after which we can apply for match funding from other trusts and groups. Even a small donation will help us to secure the future of this magnificent building for the community to enjoy.
Thank you so much for reading this - and we hope you take the opportunity to become a part of the story of St. Thomas'!