Chapel welcomes £200,000 Town Hall grant towards cost of vital repairs
EMERGENCY repairs needed to prevent the collapse of Union Chapel tower are to go ahead thanks to a £200,000 Town Hall grant.
The Grade II*-listed chapel in Compton Terrace, Islington, is on English Heritage’s at-risk register. Staff and supporters of the chapel have been running a fundraising campaign since June 2007 when the tower looked in danger of collapse.
Temporary work was carried out immediately but more funding was needed for vital repairs. Islington Council recently handed over a cheque for £200,000, ensuring emergency structural work and spire repairs can now proceed.
Scaffolding at the top of the spire can now be removed although fundraising to pay for work on the lower parts of the tower will continue.
Union Chapel project manager Pete Stapleton said: “We would like to say a huge thank-you to the council for helping save the tower and supporting our work in this fabulously generous way.
“This will mean so much to the thousands of people who come each year to use the chapel for charitable and social activities and for the broad range of cultural events we are able to offer as an independent venue.”
The chapel was chosen by Islington singer Alexandra Burke as the venue for her debut full-length concert at Mencap’s Little Noise Sessions in November.
Project chairman Philip Walker said: “This is an amazing contribution from the council which, with the generous grant from English Heritage, will save the upper part of the tower from collapse and will allow us to concentrate on raising the £1.5million needed to repair the lower sections of the tower.”
Lib Dem council leader Councillor Terry Stacy said: “The Union Chapel has a very special place in Islington residents’ hearts. It would have been a tragedy to see this amazing building demolished or fall down.”
Friends of Union Chapel will continue to stage free Thursday organ concerts and raise money for the restoration of the Willis organ.
The Union Chapel Project was started by the church and Friends in 1992 to raise money for repairs. It also runs Margins, which provides support for homeless people.