We are delighted to announce that our application to Veolia Environmental Trust for a major grant towards phase 2 of Project Welcome has been successful.
We have applied for and will be receiving £75,000! (£74,999 to be precise!)
For those of you who have waited patiently for some further progress towards the reopening of the front door, this is especially good news.
Phase 2 of Project Welcome comprises
For many years the bricked up front door has been a source of sadness for many people in our community and it has sent out the unhelpful message that “we are closed”. We really believe that creating a more welcoming entrance as well as the rearrangements internally will revitalise this essential community asset which is so well placed to continue to serve the people in our parish.
Further information about the total cost of this phase 2 will follow shortly as well as a timeline of how we hope the work will be completed.
For now, we rejoice and praise God as well as, of course, expressing our thankfulness to Veolia and everyone who helped us towards this bid: local councillors, headteachers, community hall users.
The image below shows Phase 1 (the new loos, already completed) and phase 2 - the lift will not be done but is part of Phase 3!
Last Saturday July 14th we were able to celebrate having Phase 1 of Project Welcome completed. We welcomed about 100 people over three hours into the church and gardens to see the new part of our community facility. We celebrated by snipping a ribbon at the end of the new path. Gerald King, one of the oldest members of our church choir did the honours. He had played a significant part in the reordering over 30 years ago plus it was his birthday! We also were pleased to have with us John Scouller who helped us so much with the fund-raising and Councillor Jerry Roodhouse who has championed the need for local community facilities.
The new toilets and community facilitator room were made possible through the generosity of church members and through grants from WREN, the National Churches Trust, All Churches Trust, 29th May 1961, and the Rank Foundation. We are very grateful to all our sponsors and donors and hope the new facilities will be a great asset to the local community.
Thank you also to everyone who helped on the day: putting out stalls and tables, flipping burgers over a hot BBQ on a very hot day, everyone who made or bought cakes or donated to stalls. Everyone's contribution made a huge difference.
This morning some of the congregation were able to take a look around the virtually completed interior of the new extension. The grand opening (and first flush!!) will hopefully be on Sunday June 3rd, we need some time to move in, fill the soap dispensers and work out how the new 'gadgets' work. But we are very pleased and excited to put up the sign acknowleging the huge difference the grant from WREN made in making this work possible.
This is just phase one. We are holding an open day with Community BBQ lunch on Saturday July 14th and will be telling everyone then about our plans for phase two which are already well under way. But before we plough it's right to stop, celebrate and give thanks for the many people who have helped get us this far.
Publicity and press release coming shortly for Celebration event on July 14th
These are the questions I get asked almost every time someone stops me outside church to ask about the building work. This happened again today so I thought an update might help.
Phase 1: comprises news toilets and a small community operations room. This phase is nearly complete and has been/will be paid for by the congregation's huge generosity plus hugely significant donations large and small from funds and organisations and interested individuals. (Scroll back through this blog for info)
But the bit everyone is interested in AND the most important bit (in my opinion) is the opening of that bricked up front door.
This is Phase 2: a new entrance where the old door is currently bricked up, clearing away the draughtly old toilets that were in the porch space, plus a new entrance from the church hall into the worship space, creating a better link between the two parts of the building, and finally a new Audio visual cupboard/hub to serve both the worship space and the community space and also some large purpose built cupboards for storage. Raising funds for this phase are ongoing. Creating a welcoming entrance is key to our becoming a more visible and useful asset to our community.
Will there be a phase 3? We hope so... we have all the plans and all the permissions but would need to keep fund-raising. It would involve the installation of a lift upstairs from the new door porch area into a second community facility which would be served by its own kitchenette and toilet. The lift would give separate and disabled access, allowing both spaces to be used simultaneously by different groups.
Like the last part of a long journey to the somewhere exciting, the last phases of this build have not gone as quickly as we would have liked. But yes, we are nearly there.... here are some updated pictures. The walls have taken a very long time to dry out but the painting and decorating should start next week (April 16th)
This is our 'Project Welcome' Prayer. This says it all. It tells you what motivates our desire to be a blessing in this community.
This prayer is being answered in amazing ways.
Thank you for praying and donating.
More pictures soon, the floor goes down this Saturday :-)
Our Project Welcome Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for our church building and community of your followers who meet in it.
We thank you for those who followed you faithfully in the past establishing and developing this building.
Make us good stewards of this resource and all the gifts you have given to us.
We pray that our building may better reflect the welcome you call us to give to the community around us.
We pray that our door may be opened, our facilities improved and that you will keep us united as we work, pray and give towards these practical goals.
May we grow in faith, may we grow in numbers and may we grow into a community of people with you at the centre, where everyone is welcomed and enabled to come closer to you.
In your name we pray, Amen
The builders battled through the 'Beast from the East' bad weather week and now we at the stage of making choices for internal colours which will go on once the plaster is dry, the floor is down and the windows are in. Meanwhile the baby changing drop down unit has arrived and is ready for installation.
The building work for Phase 1 is coming along: this will give us three new toilets and an small organisational space for the community co-ordinator we hope to appoint. Once the news loos are functional, the way will be clear to clear out the old toilets (in the present porch area of the old front door) and then we can press on to re-open the front door.
We continue to fund-raise and are thrilled to announce that the Edward Cadbury Trust has just given us £3,000 towards Phase 2. Whoo-hoo! and thank you!
We have foundations, a concrete base, all the drains and now we have bricks! Yippee - all going well so far! Breakthrough into church some time in January and completion by end of Feb.
Rev Sheila Bridge
This the blog page for Project Welcome, please click on the link below to donate to Project Welcome through Justgiving.