Dear Friends and Supporters,
We, the two Martins, would like to apologise for not keeping you better informed in a newsletter about what was happening in 2018, but much of our time and effort was spent on trying to secure as large a grant as possible from the EU for the restoration of the cathedral and tower/spire. After an intense and complex EU funding application process lasting most of last year (including a Cost Benefit Analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers which concluded this was a most cost-effective project!), we were absolutely delighted to receive at Christmas time an extremely generous EU grant of 4.2 million euros for Phase 1 of the Restoration Project. Combined with our own co-financing contribution of over 1 million euros, we now have a budget of 5.25 million euros.
The grant would not have been possible without the unstinting work of the whole Architecture Project team, our Project Manager Guillaume Dreyfuss and Project Administrator Godfrey Kenely, and the guidance and support of the Minister for EU Funds and his staff in the Project Selection Committee and Managing Authority.
Depending on its availability, it is hoped to secure further EU funding for Phase 2 of the project, which will focus on the roof and ceiling of the Cathedral – amounting to another 3 or 4 million euros.
And finally work is getting under way!
REFURBISHMENT PLANNING AND PROGRESS
The Tower: (Phase 1) This is the most vulnerable part of the cathedral and its immediate repair and reconstruction is imperative. Exterior scanning and geo- radar checks have revealed the unexpected presence of iron bracing around the top of the tower where it meets the spire, showing signs of corrosion.. World War II bomb damage has also been discovered.
Bids for the first tenders will be coming in imminently, so hopefully work can begin in only a month or two. Already you can see that netting has been secured at the top of the tower by a special team of abseilers, to ensure that no rocks or debris can fall on people and workers below when work starts.
The Cathedral: (Phase 1) Repair of the external fabric of the church is also scheduled under Phase 1. Our architects, Architecture Project, have spent two years on the detailed analysis of the state of the fabric and structural stability of the Cathedral, to be completed in 2021. They have exposed areas of work which were undertaken on a ‘make and mend’ basis over the last 50 years.
You can find further information on the restoration project, including the areas in need of restoration on our website www.www.savethecathedral.com
There is also an excellent piece on the home page (latest news) of the Diocese of Europe website; www.europe.anglican.org
Our task as the Save Valletta’s Skyline Restoration Appeal is to find the necessary 20% co-financing of the project as required for all EU-funded projects, as well as the payment for professional and technical fees.
The Restoration Appeal Committee has raised over 1 million euros to date, through the generosity of donors from Malta and abroad, including charitable trusts, large corporate donors and HRH The Prince of Wales, as well as the Archdiocese of Malta and the Bishop of Gozo.
But we need at least a further 1 million euros to complete the project by the end of 2021.