Restoration of the Meeting House
Between 2013 - 2015 the Blue Idol underwent some major restoration work to ensure it could continue to be used as a Meeting House. During this time Friends held Meeting for Worship at local village halls and to celebrate the return to our building in the summer of 2015 we held an opening event which the actress Shelia Hancock attended. If you visit the Blue Idol on an open day we can show you the expert work timber framing restoration work.
Our generous supporters
Friends at the Blue Idol have been humbled by the generosity of Friends, Meetings, Quaker organisations, visitors, individuals, English Heritage, and other trusts and organisations in terms of the money raised towards the building’s restoration. Our original working target was £315,000 which covered both the initial investigations and reports, and the main work to restore both the Horsham stone roof and the structural timbers. Funds came not only from the UK, but also from Friends and Meetings as far away as the USA and New Zealand. Many individuals wrote of fond memories of the Blue Idol; some were married there and others had stayed when the adjacent residence was a Bed and Breakfast.
195 Quaker Meetings contributed just under £15,000; individuals, including the magnificent Blue Idol runners, raised just over £20,000; a number of small trusts (mainly Quaker) and our Area Meeting contributed £78,500; grants and loans from the Meeting Houses Fund added another £40,000; a large Foundation gave us £10,000; and English Heritage made grants totalling £120,000; VAT recovery and gift aid has added a further £22,500 and a local trust offered us £9,000 on the completion of the project. This meant that due to the generosity of many people and organisations we met our target.
A Major Setback
But then, absolutely everything changed overnight. Our original contractor, Cathedral Works Organisation (Chichester) Ltd. went into administration on the morning of 4th March 2013 and, without a word of warning, just packed up and walked off the site - leaving our beloved building without roof or windows.
The work was eventually continued by another contractor but we had to meet serious additional costs to complete the project.
This set back strengthened our resolve to close the funding gap and put the Blue Idol back into good working order.
However this, in no way, diminishes our immense gratitude for the generosity and good wishes of the very many people and organisations who have so kindly contributed to our project. Your donations will ensure that this historic 400 year old building which, at the instigation of William Penn, was converted for use as a Quaker Meeting House over 300 years ago, can continue to be a place of peace and worship to Quakers and non-Quakers alike for many generations to come.
Charles Harries – Treasurer, the Blue Idol Quaker Meeting.
Revision 3 5August 2015. Minor updates 27 June 2015 & 28 Feb 2017
Nearly there. This photo taken on May 20th 2015.
The work is done, but we still have to repay significant loans, a process which will take years. If you want to help us, here, in a nutshell, is how to go about it:
Please make cheques or CAF vouchers out to:
'Blue Idol Quaker Meeting'
and post to The Blue Idol Treasurer: 32 Goring Road, Steyning, West Sussex, BN44 3GF. Or pay by BACS to Barclays Bank account of the same name, ensuring your name is in the reference area so our treasurer can thank you.
Sort code 09 01 53
If you are sending us a cheque and are a UK tax payer, and are happy to gift aid, please remember to tick the appropriate box on the form.
Thank you for your support
We are very grateful
We received generous loans from Quaker sources, for which we will always be very grateful as they enabled the work to proceed before further damage could occur.
But it is the nature of loans that they have to be repaid so that resources are released for further projects. So we are still most grateful for contributions which will allow us to make the scheduled repayments in the coming years.