The Jubilee Foundation
St James, as Guernsey’s premier concert hall and event space, is a beautiful building in the Greek revival style and, together with the adjoining Dorey Centre, offers a multi-functional community space used by thousands of islanders each year.
Unlike Beau Sejour and the Princess Royal Centre for the Performing Arts, the building is maintained and operated by through a charity, called St James, by a small team of dedicated staff and volunteers.
The building is owned by the States of Guernsey, which remains responsible for maintaining the external structure, but it is leased to the charity, which takes responsibility for its successful operation. While St James receives a modest annual grant from the States, it is principally funded by its commercial operations and by annual membership subscriptions and donations.
St James has been a prominent part of the townscape of St Peter Port for over 200 years and provides a dignified focal point for the Grange.
At a public meeting on 30 October 1815 Admiral Sir James Saumarez, later Lord de Saumarez, first promoted the idea of building St James. The church was to provide a place of worship for the British Garrison in Guernsey, where services could be held in English. At that time, services at the Town Church were held in French.
The building was designed by John Wilson, who was also the architect of Elizabeth College. It was completed in 1818 as the church of St James the Less.
After a full life, which included its use as the Elizabeth College chapel for many years, the building became redundant in 1970 and fell into partial decay.
The Friends of St James Association was formed in 1981 to secure the restoration of St James and then to administer the building as a concert and assembly hall. Thanks to the energetic support of a small number of States Members, the States of Guernsey agreed, in 1983, to pay for its restoration and the building was officially re-opened on 5 July 1985 by HRH the Duke of Kent.
The Friends of St James then embarked on a period of intense fundraising to replace the simple tin-roofed annexe built during the 1930s with the Dorey Centre, which now includes meeting rooms and additional event spaces, as well as administration offices.
Since celebrating its bi-centenary in 2018, St James has completed an extensive programme of further renovations, installing a new efficient heating system and state of the art lighting and audio systems.
St James is now run as a Guernsey registered charity and a company limited by guarantee by a Board and an advisory Council. It provides Guernsey with a unique and versatile venue for concerts and events covering a broad range of interests for both residents and visitors, as well as a function centre for the business community.
THE JUBILEE FOUNDATION
The St James Jubilee Foundation is the spearhead of our long term fund-raising efforts designed to support and underpin St James as a vital asset for the whole of Guernsey. It was created as a charitable trust following the twenty fifth anniversary of the reopening of St James as a concert hall and event space in 2010. The objective of the Foundation is to gather funds from well-wishers to ensure that St James can continue to benefit the whole community of Guernsey for many years to come.
Foundation funds are invested prudently by the Trustees and, with their agreement, may be released to St James, mainly for capital projects and to develop its artistic and cultural activities.
Since its establishment the Foundation has made a number of capital grants to St James to maintain and improve its facilities. These included a donation towards the new heating system when the original underfloor heating system failed, new blinds for the Hall and donations towards the refurbishment of the St James Clock, the Steinway Piano and the Organ. A donation was also made towards the Post-Covid Reopening Appeal, when there had been an extreme drain on the resources of St James while the building was required to be closed and thus generating no income.
The Foundation is a separate charity to St James (registered as CH392) and its assets are held separately by its Trustees. Funds raised by the Foundation will not be used to meet the operational costs of St James or, except in extreme circumstances, any operational losses. The Board of St James have responsibility to ensure that losses are avoided and that resources are appropriate to the revenue stream.
The Trustees welcome one-off donations, regular annual donations and even a commitment to add the Foundation as a beneficiary of a Will. Donations of £500 or more can benefit the Foundation with additional tax credits.18