What changes are we making to the building?
In order to open up the building and provide a more welcoming and flexible space for our community we are looking to build a new entrance area joining the present church with the halls, to create a new space to be used by the church. In doing this we will also be building new toilets, kitchen, moving the church office and raising the floor in the worship area so that there will be one level throughout. There will also be new storage provided and refurbished areas for our children and youth work. This will give the church the flexibility and accessibility needed for a public building in the 21st century and at the same time keeping worship at the centre of the church. The redevelopment also will benefit the church with new windows, better insulation and an opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint.
What has the Design group been doing?
During 2018 the Design Development group has been busy as feedback on the design proposal has been opened up to the membership and friends of the church. From January to April they have had various feedback sessions and a small dedicated team has consolidated that feedback. We’d like to say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to let them have their views on the scheme proposal and to the Design Development Team for their assistance in formalising views of the wider audience.
The vast majority of our church have embraced the development proposal and positively commented on the scheme as it currently stands. However, that same majority has provided some not insignificant constructive feedback for additional works to be incorporated into the scheme. This has in turn, provided the additional challenge of seeking to recognise those wishes in what will become the final scheme design. We have therefore collated your feedback on the current scheme and in respect of additional works, which has been far ranging and consolidated it into a format to enable further discussions with the Gradon Architecture.
What are the next steps for the design?
Over the summer period, the scheme including additional works, has now been worked into a detailed design by the Architect. In order that we can seek an improvement on cost certainty, we have decided to go to the market now and invite tenders to be submitted from several Contractors. Using tendered prices, we will be choosing one Contractor to work with as we develop the Architect’s fine detail of the design and firm up on the Contractor’s proposal. The Architect is also making contact with town planning and notifying them of the upcoming application. This part of the process also entails getting various surveys together including land contamination, ecological and heritage statements. This approach will enable us to present an updated design and cost to the Church Council meeting on the 18th October. There will be a special Church Council on the 12th November, 7.30pm to consider the proposal in detail.
What is our financial situation?
We have been pleased with the generosity of church members and friends who have so far given and pledged with gift aid £191,000. We are also delighted that our Circuit has generously supported the project with a grant of £30,000 and the Newcastle District of the Methodist Church has also recognised the importance of our redevelopment, approving the project and agreeing to give a sizeable grant. We have also identified a number of other sources for grants and applications have begun to be made according to their time scales. A full financial position will be available for the Church Council.
I haven’t contributed, but would like to?
If you would like to make a gift or a pledge to the redevelopment, we still need contributions to hit our target. Please either speak to our treasurer Matt Taylor, development steward David Thompson or download a Development Pledge Form and Gift Aid form from the main project page
What can we do to support the redevelopment?
The psalmist reminds us, ‘that unless the Lord builds the house, the labourers toil in vain’. We continue to seek God’s guidance for our building, that it may be used for God’s purposes and bring glory to Jesus and a blessing to the wider community. As such we need to continue to pray for this project.
Secondly, we would like to have a few more fund raising initiatives to engage the wider community, if you have any ideas please speak to David Johnson or Linda Innes who are co-ordinating our 50/50 (community / redevelopment) fund raising.
If you have any further questions about the development of our premises, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any members of the steering group or myself.
With every blessing,Alan (on behalf of the Steering Group)