Future Plans

September 2017 Newsletter

Over the past few months very serious consideration has been given to how to proceed with the much-needed improvements to the buildings at St Andrew’s – and also now a new group has been formed to work out what activities will/can be provided in the future. The two must match up – the buildings are only the shell in which the activities take place (and of course some church-run activities take place outside the buildings.)

The scheme we had in January was expected to cost about £3 million. Sean Brady our fund-raising adviser is of the view that it would be very difficult to raise this sum in a reasonable period of time. We need to get the improvements underway as soon as possible of course as the rain is still dripping in, the boilers are even nearer the end of their lives and the heat is disappearing out of the uninsulated walls and single glazed windows. So our architects Gagarin Studio made a series of significant changes to the first scheme with a view to reducing the costs. At the Annual Church Meeting in June (equivalent to an AGM) church members were very clear that they want to have space for community as well as church activities.

Even following revisions the scheme will cost over £2.5 million. We are not far away from applying for planning permission for this scheme. But we think that realistically we have to work in 2 phases – so that fund-raising for the second phase can carry on even after Phase 1 has been finished and brought into use. This first phase will cost around £1.7 million. Drawings will be displayed on a Noticeboard (not the Noticeboard previously used as it gets wet when the rain is heavy!).

The overall scheme will retain more of the existing buildings, but with significant alterations and improvements (including the roofs of course) that will create a range of rooms and spaces that enable St Andrew’s to be a Church and a community facility. In Phase 1 no alterations would be made inside the Main Hall or the Disco Room (where Little Monkeys Playgroup meets). These don’t leak so unfortunately can’t get priority.

 

Money Matters  Through donations and fundraising efforts we’ve raised over £24,000 over 2 years – including £10,000 in the first 6 months of this year. This amount will allow us to pay for professional fees (architects, structural engineer’s work, cost consultant’s calculations and fund-raising advice) as well as the fee for submitting a planning application. It will then be time to write our Business Plan and apply for grants to external funders. However our own fundraising must continue as we look to raise the £1.7 million needed.

We must reiterate the urgent need to move forward with this project. The quinquennial report in early 2015 listed items in the premises that are already problematical, dilapidated and not up to today’s expectations, with an additional list of work that needs to be done in the near future. Since then we have only carried out the bare essential repairs (such as repair of broken glass). Looking around it is not hard to see where more extensive work is needed due to continuing deterioration.

Fund-raising needs to move up a gear so that we are able to start work. In order to be able to do that we are going to apply for planning permission and when that is granted we can start as soon as the money is available. Grant sources usually do not consider giving grants until planning permission has been obtained. But we will have to raise or donate a lot of money ourselves – congregation and community together.

If you feel you can make a one-off donation to the Development Fund, there are specific envelopes on the vestibule table. These are Purple Gift-Aid envelopes and we would appreciate it if you could complete the details on the back so we can claim the tax back on your donation. If for example you give £100 then we can claim tax back of another £25 – a welcome donation from the Chancellor of the Exchequer! If you could make a regular contribution to the Development Fund, there are standing order forms available with the Fund’s bank account details, for you to complete and send to your bank. Again please indicate if you are able to Gift-aid your donations. Regular giving is really useful, helping us to be sure of continuing monthly support.

We hope these Newsletters help to keep everyone aware of how things are progressing.