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‘Iconic’ Perth church gets £100,000 cash boost

St Matthew's, Perth, at night

St Matthew’s, Perth, at night

A historic Perth church, which has been described as “iconic,” has received a funding pledge from the council of £100,000 over two financial years.

Members of Perth and Kinross Council’s Perth Common Good Fund committee passed an amendment this week, when they agreed to award £50,000 to St Matthew’s Church of Scotland by the end of March and then a further £50,000 in the next financial year.

The church needs about £1 million for its planned Sanctuary Redevelopment Project. This would see the church being converted into a “safe, warm, bright and useful” facility, seven days a week.

It is hoped conservation and repair work will take place to help the building’s long term maintenance and establish an information programme to attract Perth residents and visitors.

Perth Common Good Fund committee has been told the project costs for the 143-year-old building are estimated to be about £916,028, which includes heating, seating and disabled access.

Councillor Jack Coburn, convener of the committee, said that successful requests from other funding bodies total about £200,000. Applications to the Gannochy and Robertson Trusts (£100,000 each) are still pending.

Part of the external funding came from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), who have initially given £7,500 to help St Matthew’s Church.

“The church’s contribution is £382,839 and if successful with the Gannochy and Robertson Trust applications, this would leave a shortfall of £133,189,” Mr Coburn said.

“The request to this committee is for £150,000. The church has not benefited from the fund in the last three years.”

Councillor Willie Wilson described the church as “iconic,” and suggested awarding £50,000 by the end of March and then another £50,000 in the next financial year.

“St Matthew’s Church is an expensive building to maintain,” he commented.

“The congregation have a big burden on their shoulders but they have a business plan.”

St Matthew’s Church is a prominent landmark in Perth’s Tay Street and is home to four First World War battalion colours of The Black Watch, as well as several memorials to the fallen.

• Full story at the Dundee Courier.

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Paul Reoch
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