Property Grants Awarded 2015/16

Belle Vue, Shrewsbury

The Church building dates from 1879, and to the rear is a church hall of slightly later date and a modern (1964) extension which connects the two and contains the vestry, kitchen, storage space and meeting rooms. The site is on a pronounced slope, with accommodation at three main levels connected by narrow staircases. Access to the lower levels for disabled persons is currently via a steep drive, the slope of which is far greater than the recommended maximum slope for wheelchair access. The existing church hall is also cold, draughty and in poor decorative order. The premises are currently used for Sunday worship, youth activities (Brownie and Guide packs), community lettings and Church meetings and social functions.

Details of refurbishment: 

1. Enhance and reorganise the existing accommodation to provide improved access: Replace the existing church hall with a new hall with a floor level the same as the lower level of the 1964 link block – all accommodation now on two levels instead of three. Extend the footprint area of the new hall. Install a platform lift between the levels to allow internal level access to all parts of the building. Provide additional disabled toilets.

2. Provide additional facilities to increase use by the community - new hall, new meeting room on the upper level, and a new, larger, re-equipped kitchen on the lower level with hatches opening into the new hall and the reception area.

3. Improved energy efficiency: photovoltaic panels on roof of new hall, grey water recycling, improved insulation, triple glazing. The Church is registered as an Eco-Congregation.

Grant awarded: £27,500


Bethesda, Bristol

To rebuild and refurbish rooms behind and to the side of the Chapel: Meeting room, Kitchen, Toilets, Office, Vestry, Reception, new Entrance.

Project description:

1. A new vestibule to the south of the main church which will enable us to provide an attractive, modern and, above all, welcoming main entrance to the building. The current access to our premises for everyone involved in weekday activities is through a small, often full, car park and down a narrow, dark passageway which also houses our dustbins! It is essential that we are more open and visible and, above all, more welcoming to the community. In addition we will re-pave the side pathway to the new entrance, install benches and decorate with planters, to give an attractive approach and outdoor seating area.

2. A significant element of our plan is to open up the area immediately behind the sanctuary to create a large, light reception area leading from the new south vestibule, bringing three benefits: i. access from the rear premises into the sanctuary, currently a dark, narrow corridor, allowing potential for new, decorative doors into the church and artwork on the walls, physically highlighting the importance of the relationship between the worship and service of the church community. ii. provision of an open-plan space for seating and a hatch from the kitchen to enable refreshments to be served. This area will be the hub of the new premises, used for informal, social events, break out worship and small group work. iii. the ability to improve circulation throughout the building and remove the narrow passageways which have developed over years of piecemeal development.

3. Moving the kitchen into the current outside paved area is central to the scheme. It will provide a new, larger kitchen with improved facilities, complying with current health and safety regulations. It will enable direct access to the hall via a larger serving hatch, making the serving of food and drink safe and practical.

4. A new office in a central, visible location will help to facilitate the opening of the building to the community on a regular and staffed basis.

5. An upgraded meeting room with the possibility of a small kitchen area for making drinks will provide a much improved space for existing and new users.

6. The relocation of old-fashioned, damp and cramped toilets, and providing facilities built to modern standards and accessibility needs.

7. The rationalising of external rooflines to make for easier maintenance and provide natural light (roof lanterns) into main refurbished areas.

8. As an Eco-Church with three awards, (Solar panels fitted) we will use sustainable and environmentally friendly materials to further reduce our carbon footprint and our energy bills.

Grant awarded: £150,000

Big Build, Havering Road

A site where the main hall and current kitchen may be in use by external groups at all times, whilst the church family and community are still able to develop their own mission and outreach avenues without restrictions on time of day or day of the week. A site where there is a safe and welcoming entrance for all users, situated such that everyone entering the building is aware that this is first and foremost a place of worship. A site that significantly increases the opportunities for mission, outreach and community involvement due to increased room and a large general gathering place. A site that complies with all current accessibility legislation. A site that shows stewardship of the planet in action. The current building limits opportunity to offer greater community access and make the best use of the time and gifts available within the church family for worship, service, learning and evangelism. The current building is dark, not welcoming, is in need of renovation and is not disabled accessible. The church sanctuary is not visible from the entrance to the hall and therefore the church mission is not clearly visible from the entrance. The new build will unify the church mission, the church sanctuary and will be a warm, welcoming place that is overtly a place of worship. Every branch of 'Our Calling' would have further room for growth with The build in place. Both the church congregation and the users of the facilities look forward to a welcoming space to meet and gather either prior to their event or as a place to meet for their fellowship.

Phase one of this has been completed fully funded by the local church. This secured planning permission thus avoiding the need to start all over again when securing large foundation funds was proving hard. In effect this means the church family has already committed almost £60,000 to the project. To maintain a vibrant and active engagement in our local community this Build is vital. Our commitment to it is evidenced by the work already undertaken. 

Grant awarded: £89,000

Boston Spa

A comprehensive remodelling of existing church premises to enable an outward community engagement. We desire to fulfil our potential and share resources and faith with the growing Boston Spa community. Key elements of the project are accessibility, inclusivity and flexibility. 

Grant awarded: £140,000



The present church was built in 1866 and, although updated in 1983/4, it is no longer fit for mission in the twenty first century. The restricted premises limit worship and community use particularly as the sanctuary is on the first floor and has no access for wheelchair users. The building does not meet modern, and future standards for access, safety, hygiene or insulation, kitchen facilities, toilet facilities, and catering for the less abled person. The current church building is decaying and has an ongoing damp, mould and heating issue, despite investments having taken place with a replacement boiler, the basic structure leaks heat and is costly to make welcoming. The damp course has been applied twice, but has not remedied the ingress of water and mould infestation, with all the inherent health issues, despite the installation of dehumidifiers! The brickwork and mortar being porous in many areas of the building allows ingress to the interior of the building. The keystone over the entrance door has shifted and concrete window lintels are crumbling. The worship area is upstairs with small rooms and vestry, office and store below. Access to the first floor is by stairs at the front of the property, or domestic stairlift at the rear of the property. Funeral services being problematic, as is access for the less abled person. In the event of fire, evacuation would be stairs alone putting the health and safety of the occupancy at risk. There is just one toilet on the ground floor, and whilst modifications have taken place to aid the less abled, this does not meet current regulations. No adequate facility is offered for baby changing, or baby transport apparatus parking.

With a heart for mission and meeting community needs, the drain on resources to maintain and heat, and make welcoming, the current building is depleting our resources for outward community projects. The adjacent schoolroom is also Victorian and does not provide adequate facilities for Church or Community use, however our intention is to use this facility to store church furniture whilst building takes place, and afterwards, to have this building also demolished for future development or give more access to the new building with additional car parking. Today Burbage is effectively a suburb of the larger urban area of Hinckley and is a part of the Hinckley and Bosworth borough, and is expanding rapidly. A new Church building which is much more affordable will provide:- > A multi-functional worship area accommodating 138 people, which may be separated by a screen from the hospitality area which can also be incorporated into the multi-functional worship area as required. > A Vestry and church office adjacent to the hospitality area. >A welcome multi-functional hospitality area acting as a hub for mixing. It is planned to use this area to serve light refreshments and meals during the week. >A large and separate multi-functional meeting room with access to the kitchen. This will be accessible through the Hospitality area and also have its own external doors, for independent use. > Easy access for weddings, funerals, less abled folks and large gatherings >A fully equipped kitchen. >A toilet block, incorporating disabled and baby changing facilities. >Storage facilities off and above the kitchen, and off the hospitality area with access as well from the multi-functional worship area. The new build will facilitate and incorporate green technology either at build or at a later date, e.g. solar panel; L.E.D. lighting, air source pumps etc. Our new Church will incorporate up to date facilities for presentation and I.T. equipment. Our new Church will reduce the cost and environmental impact of maintaining a comfortable interior, and make best use of the site in its central village setting, and our unique accessible off-road parking facilities. Our intention is to grow our fresh expression of Church through youth work, and messy church, as well as offering both traditional and various styles of worship. The growing outreach events which are restricted by our current available space and kitchen and catering facilities, will blossom in these new modern facilities, and we can use our multi-functional spaces to offer radical hospitality. Our mission is to get alongside the wider community giving greater opportunity for mission and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Grant awarded: £200,000


The improved facilities and securing the building against further rain damage will provide a building that will be available to the whole community for religious worship and other activities. Improved access for disabled people will enable them to join the regular prayer groups and the Bible study meetings. A recent development has been a regular ecumenical meeting between the Anglicans and Methodists in Camelford that is alternately hosted in our Church. While a building is not vital for worship it does serve as a spiritual space and a focus for spiritual development. For example, the hosting of regular prayer and Bible study meetings in addition to regular services for worshipping together. The Sunday School is also thriving - bringing young people into the church. One aspect of spiritual development is the reaching out into the local community - bringing people into the church for community events that may not be primarily religious, but allow members of the church to show caring, hospitality and to express their spirituality and belief in God. This aspect of the Church as a building is thriving in Camelford but at risk due to parlous state of the roof which has already resulted in rain water damage to the main Church and to the main meeting room. This is now so serious that use of the room by the Brownies and Guides has been officially banned by their inspector.

Grant awarded: £42,000

Chapel in the Fields, Sinderland

This is a plan to convert Sinderland Green Chapel into a centre for spiritual growth through creativity. The Chapel is a traditional country chapel in a peaceful setting in fields. We want to retain its atmosphere of peace and its history of faith, transforming it into a perfect setting for spiritual exploration and formation. The setting is important – we want to demonstrate that a rural chapel can speak in profound ways to an urban population. This application supports our application for MiB funding for a project which has two strands. The first “outreach” strand involves outreach from the chapel using Godly Play enabling people, principally children, unfamiliar with faith stories to engage with them and reflect on them. The second “spiritual formation” strand involves creative work and reflection based in the chapel and the workshop, principally with adults drawn from churches or connected to churches, and is concerned with spiritual formation and growth. There is an emphasis within the second strand on reaching men, who are under-represented in present Methodist congregations and who face, in all generations, issues of isolation and unacknowledged emotional and spiritual need. The Chapel is intended to be the centre of the project. Full details of its intended role and relationships to other organisations and the community are given in our MiB application.

The project involves a substantial renovation of the Chapel and alterations to create (1) a flexible space for use in worship, Godly Play and creative work (2) a woodworking workshop (converted from the existing kitchen and vestry) and (3) an open plan kitchen area in the “welcome” area of the building to support the worship/Godly Play space and the workshop. Details of the intended use of the premises are set out in our MiB application.

Grant awarded: £76,000




We are trying to create a meeting place which will have broad appeal, be flexible, modern and fit for purpose, enabling all those who use it to feel welcome, relaxed and empowered. The greater the usage, the more likely it is that we achieve the desired outcome. We feel strongly that an enhanced awareness of the importance of faith in today’s world would benefit the whole community. Provision of multi-purpose space offering wider use for the local community, achieved by a radical alteration to the current tired and dated appearance and conventional usage of the chapel, is essential for its future development and the continued growth of ecumenical and community participation.

Grant awarded: £20,000

Christ Church, Stocksbridge

This is a supplementary request for funding to assist with two serious problems which have arisen in the course of delivering the redevelopment of the old wooden hut at Christ Church. The original conception of the project was on the merger of the Methodist and URC congregations and the proceeds of sale of the Methodist Church in Deepcar were committed to the re-building of the wooden hut. The full details of this scheme were set out in the application made last year to which the Connexion made a grant of £25,000, of which this is an amendment. The initial costing by professionals was at £250,000. We were granted £25,000 by the Methodist District when the build cost was estimated at £250,000. The rest we planned to meet from our assets, and from a wide range of fund-raising, including £75,000 from Viridor, and the Methodist Connexion also agreed £29,013. We tendered the building in early 2014, and obtained a price at £355,000.

The old hut/hall has been demolished, and the land levelled to the new level for the new hall. The foundations have been dug, the reinforcing is laid and the concrete is poured. The steel work in now being laid for the steel frame to the hall itself, and the steel structure is being erected from September 2015.  We have however, been hit by several elements which we did not expect. The elements are: Despite extensive test boring and pre-tender investigations, by civil engineers and structural engineers, when the ground was dug out for the new hall, we found that we would need a significantly further length of under-pinning for the existing church than planned and costed. The architect and the surveyors and the builders had set up for underpinning and retaining wall along where the link building was abutting the old building. But they found that under the main church building there were no foundations at all (a layer of loose stone 6 inches deep was the footing, and it was visible now along the cut. The cost of equipping the kitchen for our church and community projects was dealt with as an addition, and while we have already received two minor grants towards this element, we have for completeness now added the kitchen installation into the gross costs. 

Grant awarded: £103,468

Darlington Street, Wolverhampton

To restore and refurbish the building to ensure that the works of the Good Shepherd Ministry can meet the needs of the homeless and those in poverty in the City Centre. This will involve the provision of food, clothing, toiletries, bedding and other services.

Grant awarded: £30,000

Faith in the Future Phase A, Victoria Church, Bristol

The congregation at Victoria enjoy a wonderful location and a beautiful building in a vibrant area of the city. Yet our building poses significant challenges to our mission which our building project will address:

a. Our frontage, set back from the road, is anonymous

b. The current entrance to the church is not apparent from the front; external access is dark and poorly lit

c. Disabled access to the sanctuary is inadequate and to the church hall is non-existent

d. Pews dominate the sanctuary, restricting new forms and styles of worship and significantly curtailing use for plays, concerts, Messy Church and similar activities in line with our vision

e. lighting installation in the sanctuary insufficient and inflexible

f. Insufficient control over heating of Narthex and Sanctuary - not able to zone or control remotely

g. Facilities, such as kitchens and toilets, are dated and badly located

h. The layout of the building poses safeguarding issues, particularly to external groups working with children and vulnerable adults

i. The structure of rooms does not assist our youth-work and restricts use by external groups.

Grant awarded: £125,000 

Fountain Square, Tideswell

Fountain Square Church aims to create a building that is accessible and welcoming to all. An old garage and toilet block to the side of the buildings is being demolished along with the existing kitchen and toilets to create a new space to the side of the existing buildings. A two storey storage block at the rear, plus a new kitchen and toilets will also be built. The area created by the demolition along with current open-air space will be roofed over to offer a new entrance and cafe/exhibition area. The church owns the two cottages to the side of the courtyard, but these will remain unaltered. Levelling and re-paving throughout this area will offer a new, attractive entrance with glass doors and new signage. The old stage in the existing hall will be demolished creating extra space and rooms to the side made into suitable changing rooms (for the Community Players) and a children's room.

The church itself will be made into a multi-purpose area, the pews taken out and replaced with chairs and a new arch opened up for better access. The whole building will be made accessible to people with disabilities and/or restricted mobility, eliminating the internal steep steps and narrow corridor. We will replace the old heating pipes and radiators using a mixture of air source heat pump and existing gas boilers. There will be general redecoration throughout and some new glass especially in the front windows. The existing frontage of the church, including its old oak door, needs to be retained in line with the Peak Park's planning authority. We have planning permission from the Peak Park for this work. Currently, our church buildings are not fit for purpose. Steps abound internally, and the main corridor is not wide enough for modern wheelchairs. The kitchen is too small and badly set out and not directly adjacent to rooms where food is served. The front entrance is up steps and the National Park planners will not allow us to change this part. The worship area has fixed pews and is therefore unsuitable for use apart from services. We can add another dozen regular worshippers to our membership of 35. Though most of these are over 60, we have three young families among them. Numbers reduced by occasional death have been augmented by some new members to keep them almost the same over the last 3 years.

The congregation is forward looking and not averse to change and local preachers have commented on its welcoming and caring atmosphere. There is no village hall, and the buildings are already well used by the community, but further expansion and welcome is limited by the buildings' lay out and structure. Letters of commendation will show that the community support us wholeheartedly in the project. The church exists to be in Tideswell for Tideswell and, by serving the community, to show God's love in word and action.

Grant awarded: £150,000


The Vision and Mission of our church, in our "Vision 21 Redevelopment Business Plan" - Our Vision: To be a loving, outward facing Christian presence serving in the heart of our community. Our Mission: We will achieve our vision:

  • By worshipping and travelling together into a deeper understanding of what it means to follow Jesus
  • By encouraging others to join us in the journey of faith
  • By sharing God’s love in word and action within our church family, with the local community, and through our hospitality with our many visitors from across the world
  • By actively responding as a good neighbour to the needs of our community, local and global .

The church is the community building closest to the area of the town with the highest levels of social deprivation. The congregation, the vast majority of whom are retired, are very active both in the Church and the community. Since 2002 the membership numbers at Keswick Methodist Church have remained remarkably stable at around 65. This is mainly due to new members retiring to the area as described above balancing out the inevitable losses through death and through people moving into residential accommodation. This also adds to the continued renewal of our energy, vision and spiritual life. This stability is all the more relevant and encouraging within the context of declining church attendance in the wider region and nationally. Weekly attendance was also stable over that time but in recent years there has been a significant growth in our congregation (based on monthly average attendance figures compared to the same period a year before).

Keswick Methodist Church is not just a Church for its immediate community. In addition to many regular individual visitors, there is a significant sharing of our premises and our worship with other partners – including visiting congregations from other churches and groups such as the Boys’ Brigade Mountaineering Club. Our building struggles to manage the huge congregations that attend for a significant number of Sundays each year. Keswick is in a very distinctive context which affects attendance numbers for the positive. First: our location and role as a major centre for tourism brings many visitors to our church every year. A key part of our mission is that of hospitality for visitors to the area. A good example of this is our annual Jazz Service during the Keswick Jazz Festival. Second: For three weeks of the year our church continues to be a major partner in the “Keswick Convention”, an evangelical Christian conference which has been held in the town annually since 1875. During this time, our premises are regularly and completely in use every day. Sunday Worship attendance is overwhelming and overflowing at these times and we cannot fit more people in – despite the demand.

The current church building consists of a large, very traditional worship space which bears witness to its Victorian roots. A partition can be folded down (with some difficulty) at the rear of the church to enlarge the worship area for special services with every large congregation such as those held during Keswick Convention or the town’s Jazz Festival. This area is served by a small kitchenette situated in the second, mostly unused, front entrance to the church. The 1909 extension provided the large schoolroom at the rear which is now used as the main hall, plus a room known as ‘The Parlour’ which can be used as a meeting room, but its use is limited as it provides access to the hall. There is a large kitchen, utilised mostly for the provision of refreshments for meetings. This is vastly underused due to its condition and poor location. The Gents’ and Disabled toilet facilities are provided off the main hall and the Ladies’ off the parlour. Access to these from the main church is via several steps or by exiting the building and coming back in again via the parlour or ramped fire door into the main hall. The layout is clearly extremely inconvenient and also severely limits the use of the building and its appeal to prospective users. In a town with an increasingly elderly population this is a significant problem both for our regular worshippers and for other users. Our building is conveniently situated for the town centre and has the benefit of a car park – something highly valued by user groups as parking in the town is restricted and expensive. However, we regularly turn away prospective users as, despite the size of the building, it is really not possible to accommodate more than one group at a time. Despite the considerable attention which has been given to maintenance, the whole building is now looking very dated and it is increasingly expensive to heat and to maintain. Regular worship takes place every Sunday morning and in the evening of the second Sunday of each month when a quiet, reflective service is held. There are other smaller church meetings during the week. Our aspirations to live out our mission are severely restricted by the building. As a result, our SWOT analysis and consultation with our congregation, users and community led us to form "Vision 21".

Grant awarded: £100,000

Moorland Park, Lincoln

The overall outcome from the project is that the changes to the building will enhance our mission and allows us to build faith for the future. Specific outcomes of the project will be: facilitate growth in the church congregation through supporting and encouraging the activities of our church groups and expand our work within the community. The extension to the front of the church is to achieve a building that gives a welcoming and accessible frontage and also provides a meeting area/coffee lounge where people can feel relaxed and meet with others. The immediate intention is to support the thrift shop outreach and the church youth organisations but the church believes it can be beneficial to the wider community in the context of reduced availability of community based day centres and other social centres following reduced local government/NHS funding. achieve a more organised building which will improve the worship environment and provide better facilities for the church’s outreach through other groups and activities. The proposed extension will improve storage facilities to give a less cluttered and safer building for church members and the wider community. achieve greater inclusion by encouragement of those at the edges of the church community to become more involved. This will be assisted by a more welcoming and accessible frontage together with a relaxed meeting/lounge area. The provision of an accessible quiet area room available for both church and community related purposes which enables sensitive conversations to be held without interruption will also assist.

Grant awarded: £5,000

Pentre Llifior

The project is being undertaken to complete the renovation and improvements to the premises started about five years ago. The new heating and improved insulation will reduce energy costs and improve comfort, whilst the other works will complete the repairs and protect the fabric of the structure. Tarmac to entry will improve access for wheel chair users and we have two regular members needing such facility.

Grant awarded: £5,000

Poole High Street: Phase 3

This is the final phase of our project. When we were given a Connexional grant for phases 1 & 2 (project 32814) we were encouraged to come back for further funding as the project progressed. Under phases 1&2 we have: -converted a single-storey church building into a two-storey building -Installed and fitted a community cafe, a small chapel and offices on the ground floor of the church building -demolished existing halls at the rear of the church building and built a two-storey extension containing halls, meeting rooms a kitchen, offices and toilet facilities -fitted out the ground floor of the extension.

A team of volunteer fundraisers (assisted by CVS and a professional fundraiser in the congregation) is applying to various trusts in connection with funding for phase 3. Phase 3 may be briefly described as: -Internal fit-out of the first floor extension to provide flexible multi-purpose rooms and community offices, with the necessary staircases and lift for accessibility. -Internal fit-out of the modern flexible worship, community theatre, conference auditorium on the first floor.

The vision of Poole Methodists is: "Loving God; following Jesus; serving community" Our mission is to work towards realising that vision by creating the premises and environment in which we can live out our Gospel calling and provide modern, flexible facilities that will enable us to have a positive effect on the lives of the people of Poole. We are constructing not just a new building but a new network of services in and for the community. The premises will become a hub for a wide variety of agencies and enable them better to serve the community and have renamed the premises "The Spire" in order to emphasize this. The letters of support we have received from Poole Borough Council, CAB, CSV and many other bodies give an indication of the extent of the need that this project will help to meet.

Grant awarded: £100,000

Sandylands, Cumbria

Cornerstone, Sandylands Methodist Church suffered major damage due to flooding by storm Desmond in December 2016. The insurers, Methodist Insurance, responded promptly and effectively. The stripping out of damaged material, plaster walls and wooden floors etc has now been virtually completed and restitution work has commenced. Flood waters contaminated by diesel oil and sewerage flooded the whole building to a maximum height of approx 500mm. the contaminated flood water has meant that all wooden floors needed to be disposed off so that the under floor voids could be disinfected and plaster walls needed to be stripped back to an appropriate height. Provision has been made to continue the work of the church in its local community which is even more vital at this time because approximately 500 houses adjacent to the church also suffered serious damage. It is anticipated that the insurance cover will meet all the restoration costs and also the work round costs to enable the church to continue to support the community. The flooding may be considered an exceptional experience but the evidence pointing to more frequent exceptional events is very real and thus we have given very serious consideration to enhancing the Flood Resilience of the building which is not covered by the insurance cover. Recent projects ( ref consents 30088 and 39674 ) have dug very deep into the financial reserves of the church and relied very heavily on the generosity of the congregation and is thus unable to fund any significant Flood Resilience measures. It is very much worth noting that the flood water rose very quickly and receded very quickly also and thus installing the maximum resistance to prevent entry of water will provide great benefit.

We have discussed possible measures with builders and with the Environment Agency and also taken evidence from our own experience and concluded as follows: 1. Concrete floors provide a much higher degree of resilience than suspended wooden floors. So we have decided to replace wooden floors where practical. Unfortunately this is not practical in the main worship area because of the depth of the underfloor void. 2. Minimise possible entry of water by the use of dismountable Flood Guards to all external doors 3.Prevent flood water getting into the floor void of the Worship area by the use automatically closing air bricks. Flood waters entering this way caused the wooden floor to buckle! 4.Prevent contaminated flood water coming into the building via the waste and soil drains by fitting non return valves. 5. Again to prevent entry of flood water, build up redundant vents and access points 6. Where practical raise electrical and audio visual wiring and sockets to a height of 850mm which is substantial higher than the flood level experienced. 7.Experience in the present flood has indicated that solid oak doors have not been damaged by the flood water whereas costly oak faced doors have had to be scrapped 8. Some flood damage was cause to the tarmac ramp at the front of the church and it would be significantly more resilient if it was relaid rather than patched. 9. Use a glued lino floor covering to concrete floors. Experience has indicated that that floor covering is resilient to the flooding. Unfortunately it is less sound absorbent than carpet and we anticipate sound absorption panels will need to be fitted to the ceiling. 10. Roof repair. the roof suffered damage during the storm and an investigation determined that significant repair is required of which only a small amount can be accepted as storm damage. the repair is essential as further damage will occur in the event of further serious storms.

Grant awarded: £22,685

Shefford, Bedfordshire

Following a partial collapse (August 2015) of the roof and walls of the Schoolroom hall behind Shefford Methodist Church, the hall has now undergone site protection and controlled demolition (Project 40209). The roof structure and both of the longitudinal ("garden" and " corridor") walls of the hall have been deemed unsafe and have now been largely demolished. The lower sections of each longitudinal wall (to approximately 1.5m from the floor) have been declared safe by the supervising structural engineer and the walls will be rebuilt from that level. The windows (3 each side) are either sound or can readily be refurbished. The radiators and central heating pipes appear to be unharmed. It is now necessary to rebuild the hall to an agreed standard so that it - and the associated facilities, consisting of two smaller meeting rooms, kitchen and toilets - can be put back into full operation for the benefit of the community and church. In the interim, with both walls of the hall having been removed, it is important to provide physical security to the site and also to protect the structure of the remaining premises (1998 extension), the roof structure of which was supported by the now partially collapsed corridor wall.

Accordingly it has been decided that the next phase of the work, prior to rebuilding/redevelopment of the hall, should be to re-erect the "corridor wall" so that unauthorised access to the site can be denied and so that the roof structure of the 1998 extension - so far apparently undamaged - can be properly supported. An additional benefit following completion of this work is that these premises will be rendered safe and secure, and - with the exception of the hall which will still be awaiting redevelopment/rebuild - then become available for those user groups who are prepared to use the church building itself as a temporary substitute for the hall. The central set of church pews would be temporarily removed, providing a usable space equivalent to that of the original hall. Internal access between the church and the 1998 extension premises would be available via the vestry and extension corridor (bordered on one side by the above-mentioned "corridor wall".) The controlled demolition of the "garden" and "corridor" walls aimed to retain the original bricks, to be refurbished and used in the rebuild. However we are advised that a proportion of these bricks are damaged and unusable. Consequently the current advice from the structural engineer retained to oversee the hall demolition is that at least the "corridor wall" should ideally be rebuilt using concrete blocks on the "hall side" (plastered finish) and original bricks on the "corridor side" (exposed brick finish). This will provide sufficient usable bricks to rebuild the "garden wall" as part of a later phase. From a conservation viewpoint, the wall will be identical in appearance to its original state. From a construction viewpoint, the use of modern high strength concrete blocks will help to mitigate any concerns about the future stability of the walls when supporting the rebuilt roof.

Grant awarded: £14,178


The current kitchen is 20 years old. After 2 decades of heavy use, the kitchen units are worn out, and the gas cooker/hob has reached the end of its useful life. There are also increasing demands being placed on the kitchen as there is a need to provide hot food for large numbers of people at church events ("Open Door" lunches, Messy Church etc.) We therefore intend to refurbish the kitchen, installing a new oven & gas range with an integrated cooker hood/air extraction system, a rapid cycle dishwasher, and "catering-standard" stainless-steel sink, kitchen units and worktops, non-slip safety flooring, and PVC wall cladding. To provide better catering facilities in support of our work. Increasingly, activities such as Alpha Courses, Marriage Courses, "Open Door" lunches, Messy Church, church family gatherings, family work etc. involve the preparing and sharing of food. The project will help us in our efforts to make our church as welcoming a place as possible and encourage more and more people to seek, find and develop their personal relationship with God.

Grant awarded: £5,000

Touchstone, 4 Easby Road, Bradford

By 2010 Touchstone had outgrown its premises. The work, originally started following the closure of Eastbrook Hall Mission, to be a Christian presence in the inner city of Bradford to engage with the life of the city and in particular with its rapidly growing Muslim community, had grown. The site at Merton Road, an end of terrace house, was opened in 1990 by the President of Conference. From small beginnings Touchstone gained the trust of both the local residents and the faith communities. Building slowly on good relations, in 2010 it had become a community meeting point, a centre for conversation and an agent of creative initiatives in interfaith relations. At the same time its work and reputation with the Connexion, other churches and inter-faith agencies had reached national levels. From small meetings of a handful of willing persons, it was running events that overfilled the meeting rooms and spilled out onto the stairs.

To continue to work with the expanding demand, new premises were needed. A new building would provide - Larger and more meetings rooms to enable many different groups to meet in comfortable, conducive surroundings; - Disabled access for wider participation in events and activities; - Premises to bring together several agencies working in the locality e.g. Bradford Ecumenical Asylum Concern and the Diocesan Inter-faith Work; - Confidential counselling rooms for growing work in supporting survivors of abuse; - Meeting areas for work with students at Bradford University and College; - A dedicated hospitality and creative arts facility. The decision was taken to seek a house to accommodate Touchstone's work and allow it to grow. MacRory's, a large house and former bar, on Easby Road, less than 500 metres from the current site, was available but in a very dilapidated state.

In 2011 consent was given to purchase and refurbish a building for the relocation of Touchstone (Project 30836). The building was purchased at a cost of £336,500, all raised locally, but the refurbishment has not been undertaken for reasons set out below. In 2011 Touchstone Council had the finance to complete the purchase and was confident of raising the funds for the refurbishment (then £500K). In 2010-11 it raised £49,000 and made a number of grant applications. A grant application to The Rank Trust was given encouragement by the Trust and was expected to form the first substantial tranche of funding to encourage other funders. However, the main source of revenue funding was through the CGC. Methodist Conference 2013 allocated £70,000 to allow Touchstone time to rethink its work and future, to locate this within a Connexional Interfaith Policy being developed, following the ending of the Interfaith Officer post. The Rank Trust helped by suggesting that the grant application be changed from capital to revenue. The application was successful, as was one to the Halle Stewart Trust, providing £110K over 3 years. West Yorkshire District increased its commitment to the project, ensuring the full costs of the presbyter for the foreseeable future. Touchstone Council made cuts, reallocated staff hours to ensure the core work was sustained. Since then there has been success in gaining grants and now is in a secure position for continuing work.

Inter-community relations have never been more important than at present. Touchstone has credibility in this field. The publication Faith in Food, which honoured the faith stories of those who came to live in Britain, sold out within a year. ‘Weaving Women’s Wisdom’, 25 Muslim and Christian groups, some in Pakistan, resulted in a UK touring exhibition in civic venues, cathedrals, mosques and schools. There is a weekly English class for refugees and asylum seekers; counselling for those who have experienced trauma; 2 retreats per year for survivors of abuse; engagement with schools; publications to promote interfaith relations. The latest publication, ‘Eating Curry for Heaven's Sake' published by Kevin Mayhew is endorsed by CTBI. Touchstone works with Queen’s Foundation and Cliff College in resourcing Interfaith training and support. Touchstone has researched its neighbourhood, local businesses, agencies and charities to identify community needs in a context of massive Civic cuts. Informal meeting space will support a range of work in the area, eg the Health Centre as a quiet space for counselling; Canterbury Nursery and Centre for Children & Families for family learning courses; the Morley Resources Centre for those with disabilities. The building will provide a much needed community resource.

A Connexional Property Grant will give a boost to this development. Our old premises are leased back to us at £7k pa rental. The case for a grant is strong. 1. The work of Touchstone is independent of substantial Connexional revenue funding. Until 2013 Connexion supported this work with £100k pa. It does not now depend or expect to return to dependence on major Connexional grants. 2. Touchstone together with Queen’s Foundation is the identified Connexional resource for interfaith. (Methodist Council Min.14.2.18). It is the only wholly Methodist institution in this field. 3. It supports interfaith work across the Connexion and is respected by all mainstream denominations. 4. Its work with survivors of abuse, though rightly low key, is recognised by the Church of England as a centre of excellence and is being considered to be one of their Safe Spaces Project recommended centres. The District is appealing to circuits. Some have indicated willingness to grant/loan from CMTs. Touchstone staff would have a purpose-fit building, rent would be saved, new funders would recognise a going concern and other revenue streams could be released.

Grant awarded: £200,000

Trinity, Clacton

The aim: of the project is to upgrade and enhance the facilities of the church in order to allow our ministry to the disadvantaged to expand, to better serve the needs of young families and community groups in the Clacton area. What are we doing?: From the initial designs and discussions with other churches and working with the architect, the main aspect of the project are: 1. Install a professional kitchen. With the amount of catering being carried out the current kitchen requires to be upgraded to a professional standard to enable food preparation to be expanded. Clothes washing facilities need to be included. 2. New welcome area. This is an extension to the church, allowing for a new entrance to the church. It will incorporate a relaxed coffee area with veranda, adjacent to a soft play area and cloakroom. 3. Flexible space. This forms two parts of the project. a. Large hall. The new professional kitchen is adjacent to this space and this is where the Grub Club is held and Beacon House will hold their Primary Care Service. This hall will have the stage taken out to provide more floor space and the windows double glazed and a complete makeover. There will be a toilet and shower in the entrance foyer area. The new counselling room is also located off the foyer b. Main worship area. All the remaining pews will be removed and the Dias reduced in size to provide a large clear floor area. During normal use one area will be used for the toddler group with the second area for weekly healing services and Sunday services. As the main worship area can be completely cleared of all furniture, it allows for a very flexible space, which can be set up for a variety of activities or events. Being adjacent to the new welcome and soft play areas, it is hoped this will be an attraction to the locality. 4. Building uplift. The project includes bringing the building up to a high standard to include double glazing, new heating system, upgrading of the electrical systems and redecoration. Environmental systems are also being looked at. The concept is to have a building fit for purpose, flexibility in its use, with modern facilities, enabling all who come into the building to feel relaxed and at home. Safeguarding has been taken into account with the layout of the facilities.

Mission outcomes of the project: Who is it for?: Even though the project is to enhance the building the church have not forgotten why they want the project, it is for the people and has 3 facets 1. Disadvantaged and homeless: Helping the homeless and hungry and at the point of despair. The church has been involved with the local Soup Run for many years and this work furnished a link with those on the fringes of the community. During that time the Grub Club was born. The number attending the Grub Club started at 20-30 and is now 50-60. The Grub Club has been voted club of the year by Food Cycle for the second year running, for volunteer hours, commitment and people served. While with the new kitchen and larger floor space, providing more meals on more days is the vision, in Clacton, to provide a secure space for a day centre for the homeless is essential. As the design of the project is to have flexible spaces the large hall is to open all week for those in the community who need somewhere to go for some refreshments or someone to offer help and advice including, drug and alcohol counselling, help with housing, benefit problems and job seeking or to just get out of the bad weather. It is interesting to note that some of those who have been going to the Grub Club have been to Sunday worship and want to get involved in the church and some have also requested the provision of Bible study. With the recent partnership agreement with Beacon House both groups are working through the details of this exciting addition to the project. And just this week Sept 2015 a further charity Oxford Road Project want to be involved with the Street drinkers - want to be involved in the project, and run from the church 2. Young Families: The weekly meetings of the Cherubs (Christian toddler group) is an important part of the project. It is a special time to get alongside the parents of the community allowing for outreach with the sharing of Bible stories and a time to build relationships which has led to many baptisms being arranged. This has been a great encouragement for the ministers and the church. This is being re-sited into the main church area, next to the welcome area. There has been close working with the architect to get this area right for their needs. With the introduction of the Soft Play area it is hoped that this along with the relaxed coffee area will be a place for mums, dads and carers to come and relax. Plans are being discussed to open up the toddler group on more days. Messy Church was started in September 2014 and has now doubled in size to 24 children and 20 adults. The coffee and welcome area would be a great asset for this work. Many of the families have single parents and cannot afford to go out of town for the commercial play areas A play area in the town centre would reach out to these people and build relationships. 3. Social needs: The church building is let out to many local groups and this is set to continue as a way to support these groups and their activities. The average number of people using the building is 300 and 52 children. The community groups who use the building are WI, Karate, KungFu, English as a second Language students, The Guides, as well as birthday parties and other one off events. The church has also organised concerts covering different musical tastes. It is expected with the enhanced catering facilities, soft play area and flexible layout, this will be an attraction to other community groups. The flexibility of the building will also enable the church to look further into cafe style church and similar ways to 'mission' to the unchurched.

Grant awarded: £150,000

Trinity, Barton upon Humber

Trinity Methodist Church is located central to the Town of Barton upon Humber and the premises are widely used as a community resource. The Church progresses a number of activties as part of our mission development. These include monthly senior citizens lunches, and other lunches and meals. Ongoing social groups covering physical, mental and practical activities, fellowship groups, book sales and coffee mornings. The Church also hosts the Town foodstore which is underwritten by the Christian ethos. All encouraging mission development and stimulating Christian attitudes and lifestyles. Much of this mission development needs to be enhanced from fit for purpose premises, and emphasises the need for improved heating & lighting from well maintained and decorated premises with modern audio visual presentation resources and fully adequate access and egress facilities for disabled persons. Given the fit for purpose property, the Church Council can progress other avenues for mission development.

Grant awarded: £40,000

Trinity, Darlington

Current users will be able to deliver a more effective service because of improved facilities. There will be a growth in the impact of existing activities as more people are attracted to the facilities and users are able to offer improved services. We started a baby massage group from the toddlers group and from the baby massage group we attracted the music bug group. There will be an increase in the number of user groups accessing services which will lead to the existence of a real community hub in Whinney Banks and we have already seen an increase in the use of the centre. The community will have a place it can call its own and this will lead to increased pride in the community, growth of aspiration and richer community involvement from a wider constituency. We will actively promote facilities to achieve these outcomes. We will benchmark around these outcomes at the beginning of the project and then re-assess annually by requesting feedback from users.

At present, we have community lay workers who are actively working in partnership with a range of outside agencies and groups. These include: Erimus Housing, Middlesbrough Environmental City, The Towns Foodbank, and the Local Authority. These partnerships have already brought equipment for our community garden, cookery courses, and computer training. We can also advertise events at the local primary school, and this has led to an increase in children’s birthday parties and other family events. The Whinney Banks estate is close knit and word of mouth has also made a significant difference to the promotion of the centres facilities. One of our lay workers is also the vice chair of the local community council.

Grant awarded: £150,000

Unity Oldland, Bristol

This project aims to redevelop the current West Street site occupied by Unity Oldland Church in the East Mission Cluster of the Bristol & South Gloucestershire Circuit. It aims to provide a worthy replacement for the North Common scheme which was finally abandoned last year. It seeks to provide a modern set of premises which will enable the Church to develop its mission and finally fulfil the hopes and dreams of those congregations which agreed to the sale of their chapels in order to unite in a building fit for modern mission. By refurbishing the existing chapel building and replacing the existing ancillary buildings, we believe we can deliver the aims and objectives of the former scheme in a much more cost effective way. The existing Church community is lively and committed, with strong lay leadership, active youth work, imaginative worship and active involvement in the local community. It is severely hampered by buildings which were never intended to be the long term home of the united congregation, and are quite unfit for purpose. A new set of premises will enable Unity Oldland Church to grow as a Church, to be more creative in worship, to be more welcoming to those within and beyond the worshipping community, and to turn a set of tired and unattractive premises into a warm and exciting focus for worship, learning, mission and service to the wider community.

Grant awarded: £30,000


As committed followers of Jesus we all desire to be used by the Holy Spirit to make the love and power of God real to the people of the neighbourhood. Our mission statement drives all that we do. Over the past eleven years we have focused on three areas - youth work, older people (especially those living on their own) and the wider community. Warlingham Church is in the ward with the greatest level of deprivation in Tandridge. The majority of the young people attending our youth clubs come from lone parent families. Through these clubs and the sense of teamwork and responsibility that they can bring, many gain life changing experiences. Now over 20 attend Sunday services - a gift indeed. For older people we have set up the usual weekly coffee mornings but added a monthly film club, games afternoon and a holiday club for those who find it difficult to get out or get away. We have concentrated our efforts both volunteer (25 support our youth work) and financial (half the church's expenditure is on youth work) on getting these initiatives off the ground.

The building now needs to play catch up in terms of access, equipment and welcome. In summary (and much more detail is to be found under other tabs): A building that externally creates a visual impact in the community, with a welcoming appearance that is attractive to all ages. A building that internally is flexible, creating more usable space, equipped with appropriate modern communication technology, is energy efficient and is attractive to all age groups. A building that is safe and appropriate for all age groups.

Grant awarded: £75,000

Wesley Cottage, Trewint

By increased visitor numbers By increased donations to Wesley Cottage By use by schools and other organisations. The project fulfils the requirement laid down by Conference that Methodist Heritage Sites operate as Mission Centres. The project has the expectation to at least double its present visitor numbers which will bring Wesley’s message to many thousands of people both here and abroad. With the current Curator/Missioner in place visitor numbers have tripled to over 1000 per year. In its enlarged form, it should be possible to increase this to around 2,000 per annum. Additionally school trips will be possible. This museum needs development to maximise the impact it can have in communicating the message of Christianity today.

Grant awarded: £30,000

Wesley, Chester

We believe that our Worship Area is not able currently to facilitate the development of our mission. As we continue to live out our mission, we believe that in our Worship Area "We need a flexible space, able to: - offer a bright and attractive sacred focus at the heart of our common life; - accommodate a wide range of worship styles and community activities; - communicate the values of welcome and openness on which our mission is based." We believe that our proposals will encourage more people to worship in this space while enhancing and celebrating the architecture of the building we treasure. At the same time, we will be able to invite others to be part of a wider range of activities and usages in accordance with our overall mission. Floor levelling and ramps will make the Worship Area fully accessible to wheelchair users; at present less than 10% of the area can be accessed by someone in a wheelchair.

We currently estimate our weekly footfall at 1400 people; of which almost 1250 are 'users' of the wider Centre rather than the Worship Area. One of our challenges is that we regard the Coffee Bar as a key part of our ministry of hospitality; yet, as 'mission' activities grow in the Centre, the Coffee Bar's ability to welcome people is increasingly constrained. The flexibility provided by this project will facilitate growth across the range of worship, mission and community activities. As stated above, the decor, heating, electrical, lighting and AV systems are in poor condition. These will all be restored and modernised as part of this project; while the main focus remains on mission and ministry.

Grant awarded: £145,000

Wesley, Leigh on Sea

The church was built in 1904 and is of standard Wesleyan design with galleries on each side. Redesign the front entrance to provide disabled access and a friendly welcoming approach. Remove the pews to allow movement for the disabled, a flexible worship area to enable different forms of worship, community use, café for use by the youth. Redesign the pulpit area with a raised and enlarged dais to allow for flexibility of worship, use by choirs and drama groups from within the Church and community. The Worship Area can then be used for activities throughout the week. Upgrade the heating (1904), lighting (1962) and install a flexible multi-media system. For Wesley to create a community focused facility with larger multi-purpose activities spaces that will encourage people to come and engage in activities, participate and experience concerts and events. Currently no such facility exists in Leigh. For 100 years Wesley has been both physically and functionally at the centre of the community of Leigh. During this time it has developed , changed and invested resources and facilities to meet the ever changing needs of the community.

Grant awarded: £100,000

Wharton and Cleggs Lane, Little Hulton, Manchester

Replacement, new building on the Cleggs Lane Methodist Church site to accommodate the new Cleggs Lane Methodist/ Wharton URC LEP. The building will be an integrated part of the community redevelopment project which is already underway by City West who manage the social housing provision for Salford City Council. • Construction of a single storey, multifunctional worship (including a purpose built Sunday School ) and community building To enable the worshiping community to grow and accommodate more people from the community. • Specialist larger kitchen with access to two areas of new building To enable the community cafe to meet appropriate food safety standard as a commercial kitchen. Give the ability to serve two areas at the same time. Enable cafe to increase opening times and will be used for more community events. • Purpose built storage facilities for Foodbank. • Dedicated social room and storage area for gardeners and their equipment. • Purpose built workshop facilities for men’s group • Small meeting room to provide a counselling space. The above will enable the various community groups to expand and provide better facilities to those accessing the services offered.

Grant awarded: £125,000

Willaston, Nantwich

The project consists of six main areas of work: 1) remove all pews up to the choir pews next to the organ 2) level the floor and replace the front door to provide disabled access with no steps to the front of the building 3) install a new central heating system in the main worship space 4) create a new foyer with doors opening centrally 5) create a new kitchenette and disabled toilet facility, separate from the existing hall The aim is to create a flexible and welcoming worship space which can be used by the community for meetings and by the church for outreach to young families in the area. This will also enable us to offer coffee mornings for parents dropping their children off at the preschool which meets in our main hall. As part of the project, we will be installing roof insulation in the main worship space thus increasing overall energy efficiency. There was a delay of some 18 months between the original estimate and the work being put out to tender. This accounts for a considerable amount of the increase in cost, along with additional works which needed to be carried out. These include hacking off the plaster in chapel, rebuilding the arched window heads internally, and making good the external brickwork to the arches. We have also had emergency lighting fitted, and have had wiring installed for a fire alarm system, which we will have installed at a later date.

We have received support from our local Mission Area, and Wells Green Methodist Church have very generously agreed to loan us £20,000 to cover these additional costs. We were advised by the circuit that the work would be zero rated for VAT, whereas in fact it is rated at 20%, apart from the disabled toilet, which is zero rated. The circuit has agreed to loan us this money, with the possibility that it may be converted to a grant following the next Circuit meeting.

Grant awarded: £13,500

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