Update - January 2022
St Matthew’s Church, Walsall has been awarded three grants totaling £16,500 to fund a Feasibility Study.
The Study will look at developing the building for community use – as a visitor destination with a café, a Walsall heritage experience, Mums and Toddlers, history tours and exhibition/performance space. These ideas form part of the much larger “Legacy Project”, a vision to repair and reimagine what the 800-year-old church can be for the next 200 years as it heads towards 1,000 years of history.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the National Churches Trust and the Lichfield Diocese Community Fund have awarded the grants because they recognise the importance of the work which will generate ideas about future uses of the church building. It will run from February to May this year. Community consultation about options and proposals will begin in March.
Rector Jim Trood said “We have achieved an important milestone towards a bright future for the building and all that it means for the people of Walsall. We are very aware that so many people love this church and have special memories of it. Combining an important heritage, magnificent appearance, location, and outstanding acoustics, it really is an inspirational building, the very best place for celebrations, performance, award ceremonies and school assemblies – as well as being a busy Place of Worship. The building is a beacon of peace and hope for all the communities in Walsall.”
Dr John Edlin, Chair of the Legacy Project Committee, said: “The Study will not repair a single window, nor will it fix the roof or drains – that is ongoing work which we still need to fund. But it is a huge step forward. We look forward to working with interested parties who want to contribute to Walsall’s most important heritage asset and we are very grateful for the strong message of support from Mayor Rose Burley posted on Facebook.”