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Sheerness dockyard church restoration team to host open day for Islanders next month

By Emma Grove

Islanders have a rare opportunity to visit an iconic building which is the subject of a huge restoration project.

A community launch of the Sheerness Dockyard Church will be held on Wednesday, September 17.

The Grade II* listed building, off High Street, Blue Town, is owned by The Spitalfields Trust, which set up the Sheerness Dockyard Preservation Trust to oversee the work.

The community is invited to visit the church at an open day to say what they would like to see

It is estimated the total cost of the project will be around £5 million and back in February we reported how the Heritage Lottery Fund had awarded a £10,000 start-up grant to get it going.

Since then, a lot of hard work has been taking place to make the site safe and clear it of vegetation, rubble and rubbish.

There is no timescale for the project due to its nature and the need to continually apply for funding.

At the launch event, Sheppey schoolchildren will be having a look round during the day and from 3.30pm to 6pm it will be open for members of the public.

The purpose of the open day is to celebrate what’s going on and visitors will have tours inside the church, get hands-on with historical objects and photographs, take part in an architectural drawing activity, find out about its history and learn about the 1820s dockyard model.

The plan is to convert it into a community facility and small business units but at the launch organisers will also be looking for feedback from the community about what they would like to see.

The stairwell inside the Sheerness Dockyard Church - which will be restored

Education, outreach and events manager for the trust Allison Young said: “It will be nice for visitors to be able to see it at this very early stage before it really does become a building site.

“It’s amazing – it’s very much a ruin but it’s beautiful and very exciting.”

Trust chairman Will Palin said: “This is a chance for people to get up close to this amazing building and let us know what they’d like to see.

“This is just the start of a long project to repair this Grade II* landmark building and bring it back to life as an exciting space for local people.”

To find out more, go to www.sheernessdockyardpt.org.uk

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