Future of Liverpool’s ‘bombed-out’ church St Luke’s secure for the next 30 years

City council is close to completing a £500,000 restoration of the 185-year-old Grade II-listed building and a community interest company will run it as a heritage attraction. Tony McDonough reports

St Luke’s Church in Liverpool was bombed by the Germans during the May Blitz of 1941

Liverpool’s iconic ‘bombed-out’ church St Luke’s has had its future secured for the next 30 years after a community interest company was chosen to run it as a heritage attraction.

The city council is close to completing a £500,000 restoration of the 185-year-old Grade II-listed building on the corner of Hardman Street and Berry Street.

30-year lease

It is giving St Luke’s Bombed Out Church Ltd a 30-year lease to run the popular site that was severely damaged after being bombed in the 1941 May Blitz during World War II.

The organisation will run St Luke’s as a distinctive space for arts and events, that supports the vulnerable and provides opportunities for volunteering.

The appointment follows a public consultation on the future use of the church after the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, made a commitment to secure its long term viability.

A report to the council’s Cabinet on Friday, May 19 will recommend the “community first vision” set out by Bombed Out Church Ltd be approved and that the roofless premises be re-opened to the public as soon as possible.

Investment plan

The church gardens will be the first phase of the re-opening to the public.

As well as overseeing the repairs the city council has also committed to install external feature lighting later this year to enhance the appearance of St Luke’s as a prominent historic landmark.

Bombed Out Church Ltd has also set out a plan to invest in the venue which, subject to heritage funding, could include reinstating the balcony in the nave, mezzanine floors in the vestries and potentially a glazed canopy in the chancel with the nave remaining open to the elements.

Creative events space

Ambrose Reynolds, director of the organisation, said he aims to ensure St Luke’s will continue to be primarily a heritage attraction, war memorial and creative events space.

He has been running the church since 2007 and said it will to continue host exhibitions, theatre, music, classic cinema, weddings, parties, festivals and corporate events.

Volunteering and educational training opportunities will be promoted through these activities in partnership with other agencies.

‘Great events’

Ambrose added: “I’m over the moon to have been given the chance to continue to operate St Luke’s.

“I want to make it a space that everyone can enjoy. I can’t wait to get going and we’ve already got some great events lined up to host in the gardens.”

A particular emphasis is to be placed upon inclusivity including working with the homeless, people in recovery from drug and alcohol misuse, mental illness and veterans with appropriate links to existing service providers.

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