Amount awarded: £50,000
Undeterred by the challenges of a Grade II listed building, Peter Johansen, Chairman of the Finance Committee, explains that the project directly supports the church’s mission. “We have a high proportion of elderly people who worship in the church or visit as part of our many outreach activities. The changes will make life much easier for them and will allow us to further our outreach, such as supporting dementia care.”
A key driver of the project was to support the church’s work tackling social isolation, a multifaceted issue, impacting both the elderly and the young. Peter explains that when the church was built, the old layout featured small classrooms. The renovation project paves the way for bigger rooms that are flexible in how they are used and will be more welcoming across all age groups and backgrounds. Despite the restrictions on changes to a listed building, the church has gone to great lengths to make it suitable, particularly for people with visual or hearing impairments. Each of the meeting rooms will have audiovisual facilities and hearing aid loops, and work to make the building more tactile for the visually impaired is also being considered.
Explaining the importance of the Methodist Insurance Fund grant, Peter explains: “£50,000 was critical to the fundraising effort. In total, we’ve had to raise £500,000 and to get a tenth of this was very significant. We could not let the contract proceed without this funding.”