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Successful grant applications

Take a look at some examples of successful grant applications recently awarded by the Methodist Insurance Grant Giving Committee.

  • Horbury Methodist Church

    Amount awarded £50,000. 

    Building for the future  

    After five years of worshipping without a building, the congregation of Horbury Methodist Church now has a beautiful new spiritual home.  

    The village of Horbury in West Yorkshire has historic links with Methodism, and John Wesley himself occasionally preached here. There were originally two Methodist chapels in the village, but by the twenty-first century only one remained, and it needed significant structural improvement. Having been built on clay, it was unstable and masonry was falling from the walls. After much discussion with the council, the consensus was that the church had to be rebuilt.  

    The building was demolished in 2012, and the congregation started fundraising in earnest to raise the funds to build a new home. Worship in the meantime took place in the church hall. “It wasn’t ideal,” says John Sudworth, Development Co-ordinator, “There was just one room, and that had to house the crèche, young people, worshippers and community groups.”  

    A new chapel takes shape 

    Following extensive fundraising, the building work started in September 2015. The congregation had to vacate the site completely, worshipping in a community centre half a mile or so away. When people at the community centre saw the warmth and fellowship, a number of them began attending the services and joining in with the activities too! 

    The new church slowly took shape, with separate rooms that could be used for worship and other functions, along with a corridor to make access easier.  

    The church was in a conservation area and materials were specialist and expensive. Methodist Insurance Fund was very pleased to be able to support this exciting project, awarding the church a grant. “It’s been an immense help,” says John, “They really helped us keep our heads above water.” 

    The resulting development is benefiting the congregation and the community alike. A number of community groups use the facilities, including dancing groups, karate clubs and historical societies. “People even say it has enhanced the look of the high street,” says John, “And it’s certainly encouraged more people to join us in worship or to use the space.”
  • Stamford Methodist Church


    Amount awarded £1,300.

    A new project to tackle local food waste spurred Stamford Methodist Church to apply for a grant.

    The project called Second Helpings is the brainchild of a member of the church. Volunteers collect surplus food from shops, farms, restaurants and hotels, and use it to cook lunch at the church every Saturday.

    Up to 50 people eat lunch each week, making a small cash donation if they can afford it.

    The project quickly became a real success story because it proved a great way of bringing people together and reaching out to those in need, but there was one problem, says assistant treasurer Roger Ing.

    “We needed a place to store the food collected overnight before it was prepared. The obvious place was the church’s basement cellar, which at the time was a bit of a dumping ground.”

    It was clear that quite a bit of money would need spending on it so the church set about raising the funds.

    Roger says: “We successfully applied for a £1,300 grant from Methodist Insurance towards the work which involved repairing the 130-year-old stone walls and installing a ventilated dry lining system to combat any future damp before applying a breathable lime render. We also had to remove some asbestos around some heating pipes.”

    The upgraded cellar at the church in in Stamford, Lincolnshire, is now complete. Food is stored in three-quarters of the space with the rest allocated for general church storage.

    Roger says: “It has meant that we’ve solved a problem of having a cellar not being used and deteriorating over the years by putting it to use for both for Second Helpings and the church.”

  • Broadway Hill, Ilminster


    Amount awarded £750.

    The installation of ‘push to open’ automatic double doors has helped transform access at Broadway Hill Methodist Church.

    The church in Somerset applied for a grant towards the cost of installing the glass doors between the reception and the worship area as part of a larger refurbishment project to make the building accessible to all.

    Access between the two areas was a big issue explains church steward and secretary Sue Parsons.

    “Many of our users have mobility needs and we wanted to offer our facilities to other groups including a local organisation for disabled people and a Parkinson’s support group”.

    “We had relatively level flooring, parking immediately outside so people with disabilities or families could park easily, and an indoor ramp between two areas of the church, but the existing double doors made accessibility difficult.”

    “We regularly saw the challenges people in wheelchairs, using walkers or sticks or pushchairs, faced getting through them and we had to ask people to park mobility scooters outside the worship area”.

    Installing automatic double doors that people can open with a push pad gives people greater independence, dignity and even improves their sense of wellbeing, says Sue.

    She adds: “We received a £750 grant towards the doors and it helped make all the difference. The doors are a key part of the fundamental changes we have made to the church. Together, they now offer our users a comprehensive welcome.”

  • Salem Methodist Church


    Amount awarded £650.

    The removal of choir pews and extension of the dais has created much needed space at the Salem Methodist Church.

    Located in Watley’s End in the village of Winterbourne near Bristol, it’s one of the oldest Methodist churches in the area.

    John Welsey, one of the founders of Methodism, laid the church’s foundation stone and even preached there.

    Fortunately, despite its historic past, the church is not subject to any conservation orders making the project much easier to implement, says Reverend Pearl Luxon.

    The idea was to alter and extend the dais by taking out choir pews, the first row of congregation pews and moving the communion rail.

    Pearl says: “We didn’t know what we would uncover when we altered the dais. In fact, we found incredible amounts of woodworm, so we would have to have done some work at some point anyway.

    “The condition of the wood meant we weren’t able to use as much of it to create additional wall panelling as we would have liked. Instead, we had to use new wood and stain it.

    “We also had to fumigate the area, replace microphone cables, move piping and some radiators, so it ended up being quite a big job.”

    Pearl says: “We received a £650 grant from Methodist Insurance towards the work and the church looks absolutely beautiful now.

    “There’s so much more flexible space that we can use for all-age worship, communion and community events. We’ve also added a new preacher’s lectern for people who are unable to use our traditional pulpit either for health reasons, or because they prefer to be nearer to the congregation.”

Methodist Insurance Fund  
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