A church community in Neilston has launched a campaign to raise funds for a massive re-roofing project.

During the winter months, a large volume of water ingress occurred throughout St Thomas the Apostle RC Church and its parish house. 

Following a quinquennial survey of the parish estate and multiple building inspections, it was subsequently determined that both must be re-roofed as a matter of necessity.

The indicative figure for the project is £200,000, with £100,000 to be raised via donations, grants, and fundraising initiatives.

Barrhead News:

Father Jonathan Whitworth told the Barrhead News: “The current roof we have is scotch slate which is no longer quarriable, so we have had to go for something that is like for like.

“A cost of £200,000 is the ballpark and the diocese have asked that we as a parish try and raise £100,000 towards that and the rest will come from our reserves and we’ll try and defray the cost over time.”

Barrhead News:

The Catholic community in the village has a long-standing history with records stating that the first Catholic church was built in Neilston in 1163.

St Thomas' opened in September 1861 and the current roof dates back to this time.

Barrhead News:

“There is a lot of vested interest in the community here from all sorts of people who have passed through the doors of the church so it’s about trying to spread the news wide and far," explained Fr Whitworth.

“It’s about saying if this is your home parish, even if you are no longer in the village, if it’s something you’ve got a strong sentimental connection with, here’s a way you can support your home parish in so far as you can.

“Parishes are more than the bricks and mortar, it’s the community of people through the generations from the 1100s we have been here.

“We are links in a chain and it’s a long standing connection of all the families, all the first holy communions, all the confirmations, all of the major events in people’s lives in Neilston for the catholic community who have passed through these hallowed walls.

“It’s more than the bricks and mortar but bricks and mortar do matter and we're in a strange time where we need to preserve the roof so we can continue our work.”

Barrhead News:

The most recent parish bulletin, thanked those who have already contributed generously to the “sponsor a slate” initiative.

A whole variety of social initiatives will be taking place to sponsor the campaign, from a garden fête to a Scottish music night.

People will also be able to buy plaques to be placed on pews in memory of loved ones who have passed away.

St Thomas’ Primary, the parish's affiliated school, has established its own committee to formulate ways to help raise funds.

Since 2016, the parish priest has also been the chaplain to St Luke’s High in Barrhead and the school is helping the bid through initiatives such as a teacher vs pupils football game.

Neilston community champion Awar Rafiq has also pledged his support and will be taking on the 21.5 mile Dundee Kiltwalk in August to coin in cash for the project.

Anwar said this week: “Anything I raise goes direct to the church fund including gift aid, an extra 25% on what I raise, so please give generously.

“Fr Whitworth is in the process of registering for gift aid and Just Giving. Once this is done I will share my Just Giving page so watch this space.

“I have set it up as a team, so anyone wishing to take part can join.

"The more the merrier and you can do it at your own pace. There is also a wee walk which is 5.5 miles.”

Fr Whitworth is delighted that "local hero" Anwar has decided to get behind the cause.

“He has gone out of his way to support so many different causes in the area and we are privileged to have his support,” he added.

To find out more about donating, click HERE.