Update for Hall Users

As the work on our Church Hall heads into the final phases, we’re excited to let Hall users know that access to the Hall is planned to be available from the middle of November.

If you are a regular Hall user, the Hall Redevelopment Team will be in touch in the next few weeks to organise things such as keys, storage and when you will be able to start using the new spaces.

August 2018 Update

As you may have noticed work began in June on the refurbishment of the Church Hall. During the first few weeks good progress has been made and the project so far is on schedule.

This project costing up to £450,000 has been made possible by the sale of church assets and the generosity of a number of funding organisations including Leeds Community Foundation (Jimbo’s Fund); The Flair Foundation; The National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund; Garfield Weston; Allchurches Trust; WREN FCC Community Action Fund; The Rank Foundation; The George A Moore Foundation; Veolia Environmental Trust and Sir George Martin Trust. We are extremely grateful to all of our benefactors.

On Sunday mornings the congregation has been enjoying coffee at the Brown Cow where we are being well looked after by Ian the manager and his very helpful and friendly staff. It has been wonderful to see so many parishioners using this facility and continuing the normal Sunday morning routine whilst the Hall is closed. Other Hall users are also using it during the week and are being equally well looked after.

During the work on the building, the Hall car park is out of bounds to all but the site vehicles and residents of the cottage and Ivy House, so please refrain from parking in there even on Sunday mornings.

The work should be completed by the end of October 2018 so we are hoping to be back in shortly afterwards. It is likely that the official re-opening and dedication ceremony will be held in early 2019. Details on this will follow in due course.

If you wish to know any further information about the project please visit our Redevelopment Project page. If you’d rather speak to someone please give us a call on 0113 3456 870, or send an email to [email protected].

If you would like to donate to the project, donation forms are available in church or you can see how to donate online.

May 2018 Update

Where are we at the moment?

As things stand we have raised £380,000 towards our target figure of £434,000. We still have a number of bids currently being considered by grant giving bodies so we remain optimistic that we will raise the balance over the coming weeks.

What’s the plan?

The work will go out to tender in late April and it is hoped the successful contractor will be selected in late May 2018. The hall will close on the 3rd June and the planned start date for the work on site is the 25th June and it is expected to take around 4 months.

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions about any aspect of the hall redevelopment please contact the clergy or churchwardens or send an email to: [email protected]

Can I still make a donation?

Yes please! Donation forms are still available in the church and Church Hall and donations can be made via our Hall Redevelopment page.

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone in the local community and the congregation who have supported the project with donations, interest, ideas, suggestions and feedback. In particular, special thanks to the Brown Cow and Co-op Funeralcare for allowing us to use their premises during the hall closure period.

January 2018 Update

Fundraising Progress

During the last few months the Hall Redevelopment Team have been busy preparing funding bids and submitting them to a variety of trusts and foundations. To date, twenty one bids have gone through this process and we are pleased to announce that we have had some significant success. We have had five firm pledges of money amounting to £144,500 and these are shown below:

  • Leeds Community Foundation (Jimbo’s Fund): £100,000
  • The Flair Foundation: £15,000
  • Garfield Weston Foundation: £20,000
  • Beatrice Laing Trust: £5,000
  • All Churches Trust: £4,500

If we take into account the money from recent church asset sales of £150,000 that has been pledged by St Mary’s PCC, at this time we have £294,500 towards the project.

We are awaiting responses from 12 trusts so we are hopeful that we will receive further pledges of money. In addition, there are around a dozen further trusts that we will approach during the next month or two.

The team also have plans to seek support for the project from businesses in the Halton, Whitkirk, Colton and Thorpe Park areas.

The total estimated project cost is £434,000 so we still have £139,500 to raise and we will need every assistance possible to achiev4 this.

How Can I Contribute?

If you would like to support us in this community project please visit our donation page, or look out for a leaflet Hall Redevelopment Appeal that will be available in the Hall and church.

If you have any questions please speak directly to any members of the Hall Redevelopment team who are:

Trevor Sirrell, Mike Jackson, Tony Bond, Revd. Matthew Peat, Revd. Alison Battye, Janet Blenkinsop, Liz Hayes and Shelagh Freer.

On behalf of the Parochial Church Council, St Mary’s Church Whitkirk.

August 2017 Update

Recent Progress

In April this year questionnaires were delivered to 7,413 households in the area by some 35 volunteers from the congregation, Whitkirk Arts Guild and the community, for which we were extremely grateful. The feedback that we have received has been encouraging and has enabled us to understand further the views and the needs of local residents. A very big thank you to all those people who took the time to respond. This information has been used, along with the findings from the earlier walk in sessions to start formulating ideas about additional activities and services that could run from the redeveloped Hall.

During June and July 2017 the redevelopment team have met with various local and national organisations (Cross Gates Good Neighbours, Age UK, local schools, Alzheimer’s Society etc) and a number of them have indicated their interest in the redevelopment. Further meetings will be held with them as we go forward to develop ideas. We have to bear in mind that the building works are just a starting point and foundation for all the desired community outcomes which will take several more years of hard work to bring to fruition.

Additional consultations regarding the design of the kitchen were undertaken with some of the groups and individuals who use the kitchen on a regular basis. Some good ideas were generated through this process and a number of changes to the kitchen design have been made. The revised plans can be viewed on this website and are also on the display board in the Church Hall foyer.

Design & Costs

The current estimated cost of the project is £434,000. We already have £150,000 from our property fund leaving £284,000 to be raised through fundraising.

What Next?

Work will begin soon on preparing bids for funding to a wide range of trust funding bodies. This will be a lengthy process with the results of our initial bids unlikely to be known until early next year. While we are hopeful that the majority of funding can be raised in this way, we will also be looking to our local community to take ownership and help raise funds for this project.

In terms of timescales for the actual redevelopment work, we are currently planning on a start by June 2018 with completion in September 2018.

If you have any questions please speak directly to any members of the Hall Redevelopment team who are:

Trevor Sirrell, Mike Jackson, Tony Bond, Revd. Matthew Peat, Revd. Alison Battye, Janet Blenkinsop, Liz Hayes and Shelagh Freer.

On behalf of the Parochial Church Council, St Mary’s Church Whitkirk.

April Drop-In Session

We’d love to share our latest plans for the Church Hall and see what you have to say. Come along to our next drop-in session at the Hall on Saturday 29th April from 9:30am to 11:30am.

We Want Your Input

As part of redeveloping the Church Hall, we want to get input from the parish to help give us a better idea of what you consider important, and what you would be interested in seeing more of in the future.

Starting today, every household in the parish will be receiving a survey form through the post. You can fill in the paper copy and drop it off at the Church Hall or call and ask for it to be collected (details inside the survey), or you can take the survey online now in about 3 minutes.

Every response helps us build a better Hall for the future, and we value your input — it’s your Church Hall as well!

February 2017 Update

In our previous update it was reported that we had appointed a fundraiser to undertake a viability study to assess the amount of money we would realistically be able to raise through grants from funding bodies. The fundraiser delivered his report to the Hall Redevelopment team in December 2016. In summary, the main findings are:

  • The target figure of £970,000 to achieve the full design is not viable.
  • A realistic target which could be achieved is £245,000.
  • The main reason why the larger figure cannot be realised is due to the nature of the area we live in. There are no obvious signs of poverty or deprivation and funders are less likely to invest money in such locations.

Design and Costs

Assuming that we will achieve £245,000 through fundraising, along with the funds we currently have in a designated Property Fund, the total cost of a revised scheme is likely to be in the region of £400,000 total spend.

A revised design has been agreed with the architect based on this figure. Some parts of the original design have been removed to reduce costs, and the new design will include just 3 areas of the hall. These 3 areas are those which will offer the most value to hall users and are in line with the findings of our previous consultation work.

  • The kitchen/toilet/office extension on the west side of the building will go ahead as originally planned.
  • The work on the bar and cellar will go ahead as originally planned.
  • The multi-purpose room (currently the “hall vestry”) will be improved to turn it into a more useful space for meetings or smaller activities, as well as being used as a choir vestry before services.

The Parochial Church Council has now given approval to:

  1. Redevelop the hall up to a maximum cost of £400,000 including all fees and other costs;
  2. To appoint the fundraiser to assist in raising £245,000 of funding.

What Next?

The Hall Redevelopment team will begin work immediately with the fundraiser which will include the development of a robust business plan, public and organisational consultations, needs analysis and identification of potential outcomes. The aim is to complete this part of the work by June 2017.

Between June 2017 – June 2018 the fundraising will take place including the preparation of submissions and reports to fund raising bodies. This can be quite a lengthy process in waiting for confirmation of awards so a 12 month period is being allowed in our planning.

It is hoped that work will begin on the hall in Summer 2018 once we have the necessary grants in place.

The revised design plan and supporting information is on the hall notice board and also elsewhere on this website.

Members of the Hall Redevelopment team will be available in the hall on Sunday the 12th and 19th February after the 10:00am service to answer any questions or concerns.

Let us hear your views

We would be interested to hear your views, good, bad or otherwise on any aspects of this scheme which can be sent by email to [email protected] or speaking directly to members of the Hall Redevelopment team who are:

Shelagh Freer; Mike Jackson; Tony Bond; Revd. Matthew Peat, Alison Battye, Janet Blenkinsop and Trevor Sirrell.

On behalf of the Parochial Church Council, St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk.