Balderton Methodist Church: Community Café and Redevelopment Project

13 December 2023

In January 2020, the good people at Balderton Methodist Church (now the Wesley Centre at Balderton Methodist Church) formally applied for listed building approval to refurbish and alter their suite of buildings as part of their project entitled; Community Café and Redevelopment Project.

Their Mission Statement was clear:

We are a journeying Christian community, open to all, offering hospitality on the way, promoting community well-being, exploring spirituality and sharing the love of Jesus with all.

The Vision

In order to put their vision into practice they wanted to create a warm, comfortable meeting place for all ages that had very few places to network/socialise with level access to all areas. They wanted to develop a modern, well-equipped space with comfy seating where they can provide an inexpensive coffee shop with homemade cakes and light lunches at affordable prices. This would include the provision of ‘afternoon teas’ for elderly folk (as part our continuing Befriending Network) as they recognised that in these days many elderly folk feel lonely, isolated and disenfranchised from their families and friends. With knowledgeable friendly volunteers the refurbished church would be a place to find gentle support at what can be a demanding and isolating time.

There was no café facility within Balderton. So to help people who, through deprivation and lack of money, have few opportunities for social interaction the church would look into partnering with local Community Interest groups such as ‘Hope Fellowship’ with the aim of providing a monthly ‘Family Fun Night’. This would be aimed at deprived families - often with low self-esteem and confidence – who enjoy a free meal and family-oriented activities. It had been recognised, through careful deliberations and evidence gathering, that an expansion of current activities would be beneficial to both the Church and the local community.

The Scheme

The church building dates to 1908 (although the earliest presence in Balderton is 1815) with a slightly earlier school room of 1900 and a 1960’s hall of little architectural merit. The suite of buildings is Grade II listed, in the Arts and Crafts style, and is a landmark building representing a later revival in Methodism in the area. The scheme proposed:

  1. the upgrading of current facilities to modernise and bring up to date a very tired 1960’s schoolroom building using existing space to its best advantage by linking it into the existing building and redeveloping partially to accommodate the church family and support the community through the outreach project.
  2. A café to support parents on the school run or after school activities will be created in the rear halls;
  3. Access between the church and halls will be improved by a new access corridor, lift and new opening in the East Transept wall between the two buildings;
  4. Incorporating disabled access into the worship space involved some pew alteration, truncation and removal;
  5. Re-siting the vestry;
  6. New small counter sink and tea point in the worship space; and
  7. Replacement lighting, AV and broadband.

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1960's Hall, Link and Internal Wall (Preventing access to the rear halls) Before


At the heart of the church is a gathered community committed to living out its faith in relation to its neighbours. This relationship is realised in the activities run and proposed to run in the premises:

  1. Parent and Toddler group and good relationships with young families;
  2. Regular coffee morning every Monday serving 50 adults (nearby nursing home and people in sheltered living accommodation);
  3. Monthly community breakfast (serving up to 100 people);
  4. Monthly film club, Messy Church, Badminton Group, Walking Group, Bible study, Boys Brigade, Singing Groups, Keep Fit, dancing classes etc.
  5. Café to support parents on the school run or after school;
  6. Carpet bowls for elderly members as well as a memory café/singing for those with dementia using outside expertise; and
  7. Concerts and Flower Festivals

How Did It Go?

“It has been a long journey to reach this finished project but as a Church, we can now look to the future and be assured that we will have more modern facilities, a café/hub with flexibility for multiple use, a lovely new beautifully designed opening linking the newly refurbished buildings directly into the church Sanctuary, level access across the whole building with a platform lift and space within the worship area for people with mobility issues to sit in comfort.

We are now able to offer spaces for multi-use! to compliment the work already in place as we accommodate our community, It’s amazing to see the completed project and we are grateful to so many people who have helped us to achieve this, our church congregation and local community have tirelessly worked participating and organizing fundraisers, getting their sleeves rolled up when we needed a few more hands on deck, our wonderful catering team providing wonderful meals amazing posh afternoon teas home baking and so much more, there are so many thankyou’s too many to mention, so many have willingly given in lots of  different ways be it physically practically or financially we see the evidence of being together through the ups and downs as we met with unforeseen circumstances during the build. 

As we continue to build on Gods vision for Balderton Methodist Church we are focussed on the future and continue to seek opportunities to bring people to know Jesus in their lives our mission statement is: We are a journeying Christian community, open to all, offering hospitality on the way, promoting community well-being, exploring spirituality and sharing the love of Jesus with all.

Quote from Cathy Bates, The Wesley Centre

(Cathy also notes her thanks to Cliff Lewer and Peter Broekhousen for their invaluable support when she encountered many hiccoughs along the way!)

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Hall, Access Ramp, Link Corridor, Café and New accessible opening in the Church wall with lift 

We hope you are inspired by the journey of our friends in Balderton and wish to leave you with their memorable new strapline of:


Cost: £285,000 (plus VAT – which can be reclaimed by the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme)

External Funding: The Methodist Church Local Circuit & District, TMCP, Local Council, Methodist Insurance, Garfield Weston, Norwood & Newton, BDW Trading, John Eastwood, Bernard Sunley, John Warren, Laing Trust, FCC Communities Foundation.

Architect: Allan Joyce Architects, 16-20 Bath Street, Nottingham, NG1 1DF

Builder & Joinery Work: W Howlett & Sons Limited, 15 Forest Street, Kirkby ln Ashfield Nottingham, NG17 7DT, United Kingdom, Website: whpwlettandsons.co.uk