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We are grateful to the Ecclesiastical Insurance Company for their very generous donation made to our roof fund.  When looking at renewing any personal insurances, you may feel that, in recognition of their support for us, you might look at their website to see if they offer anything that you would be happy to use.



May 2024 Update

First of all can I say a very big thank you to all of you who have made donations to the roof fund anonymously? The first thing you learn when fundraising, after asking for money, is to say thank you to those who make donations and please keep doing so, whatever you can afford. It is so encouraging to see the money rising and most of all you want to see the work and activities which happen at St Matthew continue.

So what has been happening? The architects have drawn up the plans for the roof and have identified three contractors who are interested to give us a budget estimate. The structural engineers have identified that the roof could do with some strengthening on the section of roof to take the solar panels. Also, there is a long crack in the wall under this section of roof which will need to be addressed. I am told it is nothing serious.

The people advising on the solar panels have suggested a charging point in the car park for two cars. Most of the electricity generated by the panels will be used within the church for the lighting but if we have any spare on a sunny summer’s day the extra can be used for the cars. I am going to talk with an organisation who is interested in funding solar panels on buildings around Croydon with the idea they get the electricity generated. As we are likely to use all the electricity generated they might not be interested but it is well worth a conversation.

When the estimates from the contractor have been received and have been considered I have asked the architects to come and give a presentation at the church. So please look out for the advertisement for this event.

There is some good and bad news. The bad news is that we were hoping to apply to the rubbish dump people who operate in our area. Some of you may have noticed that the company Virdor has sold to Valencia Communities. They have decided to no longer use the Beddington Lane site for landfill rubbish. This means that they no longer have to contribute to charities in the area. The company has decided they will continue to make contributions to local charities but not as much (maximum of £50K with a payback of 10%) and with rather restrictive conditions: to start building within 6 months and be complete in 12 months, which unfortunately currently we cannot comply with. The good news is that they are not using the site for landfill.

News about the two trusts we have applied to. Firstly Bernard Sunley has asked for an update on our progress and I have already done this so they are still in the frame. Secondly the City Bridges Trust wants us to have their Eco Survey done and I have applied for this. I thought they might have accepted the survey we have already done for the Church of England but they want their own. It does not cost us anything so it will be interesting to see what they identify. I have started reapplying to Marshalls Charity Trust. They were going to give us £11K back in 2021. However with Covid and problems getting planning agreement from the council for the solar panels, we could not go forward so I thanked them and explained we could not use the money at that time. They suggested we reapply in 2024 so this is what I am preparing. I am just waiting for the finalising of the annual financial accounts so I can send these to them and to Bernard Sunley. Finally I have prepared an expression of interest for the National Lottery Heritage fund which I have sent to the Southwark Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) for review. There has been a suggestion that the DAC will be given funding for a person to help give advice on funding applications. I would certainly welcome help in this area.  

Apologise for a rather long time since the last update and for the length of this update.

January 2024 Update

New year and new leaflet! You will find the new Roof Leaflets in the leaflet rack on the black table as you enter the church. If you have been reading these updates you will not read anything new. It has been surprising how many people who visit the church make donations towards the roof and we like to give the casual visitor something to read. 

It has been decided by the Social Committee that any monies made at social events would be split 50/50 between the roof fund and the church. The Christmas Tree Festival and Concert were free, with a request to those with a tree to make a donation and then there was a collection at the concert. The committee very much wanted everybody to be able to come and enjoy themselves. Oh and yes to make money, otherwise how else will we be able to continue?  So please support the events as we hope you will enjoy yourself and we will also make the church some money. Look out for the next event in February. 

We have heard back from one of the three trusts we had applied to and they are not able to contribute to our appeal. We still have two trusts we are awaiting to hear back from, they are Bernard Sunley and City Bridges Trust. Bernard Sunley is waiting for some financial information from us, which our treasurer is working on.  

At the suggestion of the DAC we (the PCC) have considered whether it would be sensible to get some building plans drawn up. After discussions it was agreed to go ahead. So, with these plans, we can then go out to tender for construction. “But, we do not have all the money to pay for construction” I hear you shout. That is very true so we have to be very honest with the construction companies we approach as they will be spending money to submit a tender. If they will put in tenders for the work we can then use these tenders to go to the waste disposal companies in our area, who have to pay into charities in order to operate. These plans have to be produced so it is not nugatory but could just help us to get some money.

So, we have begun working with our architects to draw up these detailed plans. The architects will need to take advice from specialist professionals because as you will have realised our roof is very complex. We will be adding PV panels, extra plywood and insulation so we need to be sure the roof design can take the additional weight or does it require strengthening. We do not want any nasty surprises.  

It will take several months to do this work. We will make sure that the design will be available for all to see in some form. Basically, we do not want it to look very different from what it does now. However, with regard to the detail we do want it to be up to the current building standards; which inevitably are better than they were in 1969.   

November 2023 Update

It was suggested that people who come to the church would like to see a thermometer display showing how much money has been raised against our target. So I have put up a paper one next to the Parish Office (it is very Blue Peter). It is to scale so clearly you can see how much we need to raise and how much has been raised.  What the thermometer has done is prompted quite a lot of discussion and I am pleased to say some more donations. Many donations are anonymous so can I take this opportunity to say a BIG THANK YOU.

An other way to donate is via the small green roof house box (which on Sunday is on the table by the Duty Warden next to the normal collection plate).  There is also a QR code around the church and on the Roof Leaflet. We have had donations via this code, possibly from those coming to the blood donation sessions or other activities in the building.

We have had a couple of social events – a BBQ and a Quiz night. The idea was to encourage people to get together and have some fun. The ticket prices for these events were kept as low as possible to allow people to come but we were able to cover the costs.  As more people came than we expected we actually made profits and these were donated to the roof fund.

We have applied to 4 trusts for which we are eligible. We have already heard back from one of these trusts and they have turned us down this time but in the past they have given us some money. The other 3 we are waiting to hear from and this will take several months. Meanwhile we will research what other trusts we can apply to.

We have completed a form to obtain a faculty from The Southwark diocesan advisory committee (DAC). This committee looks at what churches want to do and advises as to whether it is permitted or not, it is rather like getting planning permission from the council. While this is not a done deal we have been working closely with the secretariat for this committee so they know what we are doing. I am hopeful permission will be given but again we have to wait several months for this permission.

Some of you will also have seen that the Church of England has announced a £9 million help to parishes with repairs and specialist advice. I know that one of these specialist advisers will be joining the Southwark DAC.

August 2023 Update

The hard work begins!

We have begun work on putting applications together for monies from various trusts.  We have lots of information about the project that we can put together to provide the trusts with the information they require.

One piece of information that is very relevant to trusts giving money is – “How much is the project going to cost?”  Like everything we buy, the cost has gone up a lot over the past year.  So, I had to ask the question of our architect – “what will the roof cost now?”  He went back to the chap who estimated the construction costs for replacing the roof.  The cost of construction and materials has gone up considerably and the roof will now cost at least £700,000, which will include the cost of solar panels and the insulation.  This does not include any increase in staff costs, so the cost will very likely be more.  As we go forward the true cost of the project will become clearer, but the figure we have now is more realistic in the current economic environment.

We have raised about 25% against this increased cost.  So, if you enjoy coming to St Matthew’s please give.  Details on ways you can donate can be found here.  Every bit helps, whether you give one large donation, regular donations each month or just your loose change.  It all helps, but you must let Terry or Penny know it is for the roof fund.  Trusts like to know that the congregation is doing their bit to raise the money for their building.


June 2023 Update

Successful planning application

On May 30th, our architects received a letter from Croydon Council granting planning permission to replace the aluminium roof with natural zinc and to install solar PV panels. This work must now begin within 3 years of this date.

This is a major approval met, but what we now need to do is raise the money to pay for this work. We have currently raised £195,600 towards an estimated total project cost of £560,000. Since this estimate was made before Covid, we may assume the cost will be even greater. We have recently received two large donations, one form the UK Asian Women’s Association and another from the ‘Singing for the Brain’ Group. Many thanks to those who contributed to the costs of the Coronation Mugs – this also went into the Roof Fund. Originally, the PCC asked that £15,000 p.a. be donated to the Roof Fund, but since the amounts coming in to St Matthew’s have decreased this is no longer affordable.

How will we raise the funds to meet the total project cost?

There are various trusts and grant providers we can look into and format application for:

– Benefact Trust

– The National Churches Grants

– Marshalls Charity

– The Laing Family Trusts

– Garfield Weston Foundation

– Landfill Communities Fund

– Surrey Churches Preservation Trust

– Beaverbrook Foundation

– City Bridge Trust

– Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation


What else can we do to raise money?

– Ask the congregation directly for further contributions.

– Ask those organizations that hire space at the church

– Put on events that raise money – Concerts, BBQs, etc.

– Sponsor people to run, walk (sections of the Vanguard Way), scale the O2 roof, etc.


It is now vital that we reinvigorate our fund-raising drive and keep up the momentum of our giving and the search for external funds. Once we achieve 50% of our target, we may then benefit from matched funding.


N.B. Donations to St Matthew’s go into a general account. Gifts towards restoration of the roof and installation of solar panels must specify ‘Roof Fund’ or you can donate here


March 2023 Update

Firstly, I must say one big thank you for your support for putting solar panels on a section of the roof. Many of you have helped towards getting the planning application for the roof with solar panels accepted by the council.

We on the Roof Committee have collected information to complete the Church of England forms suggested by the secretary to the Diocesan Advisory Board. All this has been passed to our architect so he can prepare the application to reapply for planning permission.

Back in 2011 Croydon Council granted permission for solar panels to be placed on the roof. The application was made by a company who wanted to install the panels and sell on the electricity. The church would have received a small fee for the use of the roof. The PCC at the time decided not to go forward for two reasons: firstly the fee from the company was quite small and secondly they were not sure if the roof would take the weight of the panels. To put people minds at rest about the roof taking the weight we have checked with the architect and he has had a structural engineer look into this. He is content the roof structure will take the additional weight.

The solar panels will generate approximately 10,980kwh of energy in a year and our usage for a year is approximately 15,000kwh. This is nor a smooth curve across the year so being realistic we might have more than we need at times and not enough at others. Everybody knows we have to put the lights on even in the height of summer as parts of the church are very dark. If we do have extra power then we are thinking of putting a car charging point in the car park.

Meanwhile we have a lot of money to raise to cover the cost of the new roof covering and solar panels. We have raised almost £200,000 so far, but need a further £50-60,000 at least to qualify for match funding to cover our total budgeted costs. Without planning approval we cannot apply for further external funding. Until the building work starts, we cannot, for example, take up The Marshall Trust’s offer of £11,000 (valid to 2023) but they have said we would be able to reapply next year.

It is vital that we keep up our fund-raising momentum. Further donations at these difficult times will be highly valued, so please think about giving a small amount and, if you can, regularly. These should be earmarked for the roof replacement and solar panel installation. Once we have planning permission, we can apply to the big charities as our next major source of funding.

So what has been achieved?

We have approval from the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) to use zinc instead of aluminium. The zinc will cost more but will last for 100 years instead of 50 years for aluminium so the cost looked at annually is considerably cheaper. They are also very supportive of us having solar panels on a section of the roof.

The Croydon Council Planning Department said they would approve the use of zinc as it would look very similar to the aluminium, but they would refuse it on the grounds of the solar panels as they would destroy the roof scape of the building. On these grounds the application was withdrawn. (We can reapply within the year and it will not cost another set of fees.)

The placement of the solar panels on the section of roof at the front of the church would mean they are visible from the road and impact on the prominence of the roof scape. The council consider the solar panels are not sympathetic to the church’s appearance and undermining to its architectural significance. The DAC do not agree with this assessment. Neither does the Roof Team at St Matthew’s.

The solar panels could be seen to enhance that one section of the roof, which can only be viewed from the corner of Park Hill Road and Chichester Road and only that section of roof can be seen, with a small section of the spire rising above it. So why can it not be a unique section?

The consultants who advised on the solar panel placement also suggested putting them along the roof ridge of the hall. This proposal was rejected by the Roof Team for several reasons, including that this would make the roof scape look too bitty and that the panels can be shaded by the spire so the amount of electricity generated would not justify the expense of installation.

Assessment of Energy Needs

Only once a comprehensive assessment of the church’s energy needs has been undertaken (such as looking at the replacement of existing boilers by the provision of ground or air source heat pumps) will the Planning Authority reconsider.  If there are no other feasible options solar panels may be supported in the planning balance when weighed against wider public benefits.

We are looking at the possibility of replacing our 4 outdated gas fired boilers with either air or ground source heating. Both options will need electricity which could be provided by solar power. Ground Source is more energy efficient but costs more than Air Source to install. We cannot use the sort of ground source which is spread out just under the surface of the ground because we do not have a ground area large enough to provide sufficient heat for the size of our building, so we need to look at having a bore hole in the car park. This is likely to cost in the region of £200K to install compared to an air source system which would cost £125K. With Ground source heating we could see an annual running cost reduction of around 15% (£3,700) per year compared to mains gas with a reduction of 70% in carbon emissions. For air source heating, if we are paying around 34p per kWh for electricity, there may not be a reduction in running costs when compared to a gas boiler and the carbon emissions would be about 65% less.

We could also look to use under floor heating. We will need to replace the wood block flooring once we have a waterproof roof so could install it then. However, the church is built on a concrete slab and we will need to investigate how this could be insulated, so this solution will have its problems.

The outside walls of the church are solid brick as they are loadbearing because of the design of the roof so there is no cavity we can insulate. We could look at putting a protective glass sheet over our stain glass windows, which would both protect them and provide insulation. Other single glazed windows that are set into the roof will be double glazed when the roof is replaced. Plus of course we will be putting insulation under the new roof covering. Currently the roof has no insulation other than an air gap.