Community support

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000

Description

After five years of exploring options the Church Road Methodist suite of premises are ready to become multi-use throughout. The first stage was completed six years ago when the pews were removed from the church. Now we are about to rationalise the site to create a compact community facility to meet current needs with easy access for all. Premises that were tired and costly to maintain will be refurbished or replaced with energy efficient, safe flexible spaces that will be used by the Foodbank, Community Cafe, youth groups and older persons, families and individuals, a vibrant community Hub.

After years of uncertainty there are is a renewed buzz as people come along to the Community Cafe and enjoy fresh food prepared on the premises by volunteers learning cooking skills under an experienced chef. The Cafe achieved a 5 star rating following the training of volunteers during the set up period of the venture. Low prices enable families with young children and older persons to come along regularly and reduce their isolation. In addition to paying customers over 500 free meals have been given to Foodbank clients this year. "It's the reason I get out of bed each day" " I'd never had an onion in the house before but I left the Cooking on a Budget session, bought the vegetables on my way home and made soup for the family. My husband is thrilled I have got involved. " "The free food on the recycled food table is a Godsend" "I've had my tablet for a while but coming to the Digital Cafe has given me confidence to use it." These are just some of the comments the 60 people attending each day have made.

The church has raised 90% of the money to make the changes to the building and is looking to replace furniture bought over 30 years ago when the premises were a Day Centre for the elderly. We need to re-equip the premises throughout with furniture that can be easily moved from room to room giving flexibilty and comfort.

We need to create efficient storage for the various groups equipment from craft work to Bumblebees (Parents and Toddler group) play equipment.

The whole project has been overseen by a Development Team working with architects, builders, quantity surveyors and planners. Planning permission is granted and building work will commence on 1st February 2018. It is exciting to see this all coming into being, not only saving the premises and all the activities that have used the premises in the past but developing new projects that will be much better accommodated in the future.

It has been a lot of work getting all the appropriate permissions and authorisations but now that is done we can plan for how we keep everything going in limited space while the build takes place and then look forward to opening the new facilities.

It is essential to have the new furniture before the build period as we will only have the church building and the chairs do not move easily. Stackable chairs are essential to maximise the usable area for social and community activities in the former exclusively worship area and throughout the new facilities when built and /or refurbished.

The project is sustainable as the church has a proven track record of property and project management. Building costs have been covered in the main through the sale of part of the site, using reserve funds and confirmed funds from regional and national Methodist funds. The church has, in line with Charity Guidance, reserves to cover six months operating costs. The help given will be used to furnish and equip the building.

This is an exciting project with many facets and benefits to the local community and we look forward to welcoming people into the new facility on its completion in September 2018.

Church Road Methodist Church

Location: St Alban's Rd, Lytham Saint Annes, United Kingdom

In 2 years a church threatened with closure has turned around to become a vital community hub again. Hosting the Foodbank, creating a community cafe, organising street parties, distributing 1,000 knitted angels at Christmas, people giving time and money have created a sustainable future.
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