20 January 2022
Onwards and Upwards!
It all started when three Churches amalgamated ten years ago in September 2010 - there were two Methodist Churches and one United Reformed Church in Great Harwood, Lancashire. We looked around for a new site but as costs continued to rise, we decided to refurbish the Church Central Methodist Church, which is now Trinity URC Methodist Church.
In 2013, we started with our wish list and refurbished the worship area with funds from the URC. By 2017, we refined our wish list into what we could afford and started fundraising. We received our first grant from Methodist Insurance. Then, we approached our architects, the local council and the Land Registry for guidance on the planning applications and any criteria for the project, etc. Finally in 2018, we went out to tender for the project and Seddon Construction of Bolton won the tender with an agreed price of £800K and a build time of seven months.
We then engaged a team of agents to oversee the project, keep the trustees informed, manage the finance, and liaise between ourselves, planning and the builders. In November 2019, after arranging for our tenants to find new temporary accommodation, we moved out. As a church, we moved into a council owned building for services and fundraising. When the builders took over the church building to begin construction, our local trustees were kept informed of progress and we had project meetings with the engineers each month.
Due to Covid-19, the build was stopped for a period but eventually, construction resumed and was completed 24th of June 2020. However, Covid-19 was still causing problems, which delayed our move back until just before Christmas 2020. We made sure to adhere to all the precautions, masks, cut down services and congregations, streaming services, Zoom services. Since then, there has been a slow but steady increase in the use of the building. There has been the return of other organisations including: Hyndburn Singers, Parkinson Sufferers Clinic, Hyndburn U3A, our own in-house groups, Trinity Steadfast Brass Band, Mums-n-Tods group, Knit and Natter group along with our own choir.
We have recently had our ‘Open Weekend and Re-Dedication Service’ in October 2021, which was nearly two years after the work started. There is spectacular enthusiasm and support from the community when they visited. It was amazing. Onward and Upward!
With regard to funding, we needed £750K as outlined in the tender. The tender was tight and the builders had to come back to the trustees if there was any increase in the costs during the project. Costs rose due to asbestos was found along with dry rot, the Fire Brigade rejected the fire alarm system, along with the doors on the lift and required a further fire escape to be built. These changes increased the cost by £70K and our local trustees & stewards covered these costs with loans. At the start of 2021, we opened a drop-in and second hand shop on the high street, which provided finance and a place for outreach. This has kept us afloat. Our funding breakdown included:
- £300K from the sale of the other two Churches, donations and bequests.
- 50K from Methodist Insurance
- 200K from CGC
- 30.5K from the Lancashire Methodist District
- 100K from the Great Harwood Circuit granted
- 100K from Local fundraising
For more information, please visit our the Trinity URC Methodist Church Facebook page.