WORSHIPPERS at St Frideswide’s Church, in Botley Road, have been left out in the cold the last few winters due to the church’s temperamental heating system.

The Grade II-listed Victorian-Gothic church has raised £15,000 so far to fix the problem but needs a further £5,000 to begin work on installing a new heating system in time for the winter.

Rector of Osney the Rev Clare Sykes says the building is under-used and one of the major reasons is low temperature.

She said: “In the depths of winter it’s freezing in the church, and because we are near the water table here in Osney it makes it even colder.

“Many of the wider community have never been inside and we want to change that but we simply can’t make it available for people to use in the winter months because it’s just too cold.”

Ms Sykes added: “A church is a public building and should be available for the wider community, not just religious meetings but community events.”

“The church was built in 1872 as a church for the local community. We are trying to find sustainable ways to keep the church building available and we want to become more visible and accessible to the wider community.”

The church’s Hunter organ is also Grade II listed and it is hoped the venue’s impressive acoustics could be used more frequently.

In 2006 the West Oxford community raised £5,000 to restore the organ and expressed interest in more concerts being held there.

The restoration has seen the church used regularly for recitals but in recent years this has been possible only in the summer months.

Rev Sykes said:“The acoustics in the church are really good and we want to encourage people to come and make music.

“The heating has to be our highest priority though; everything we want to do hinges on people being comfortable while they are here.”

Church warden Anne James said: “We are nearly there. We’ve raised a lot so far through local generosity and need one final push for a new state-of-the-art heating system. Any donation, even of £5, would be more than welcome.”


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