Next Era Building Project

WE HAVE ALMOST FINISHED OUR CHURCH RE-ORDERING PROJECT, DURING WHICH WE HAVE BEEN MEETING IN OUR HALL. FOR AN UPDATE ON WHEN WE RE-OPEN AND WHAT IS HAPPENING, PLEASE DO CHECK OUR HOME PAGE HERE

FOLLOWING OUR LAST MINUTE APPEAL TO OUR CHURCH FAMILY ON THE 1 NOVEMBER 2023 FOR DONATIONS, ON TOP OF THEIR PRIOR GIFTS OF C.£400,000 (AND OTHER GIFTS FROM VARIOUS TRUSTS), WITH JUST TWO WEEKS NOTICE, WE RECEIVED EXTRA PLEDGES TO BRIDGE THE FINAL GAP IN THE PROJECT COST OF… £79,725!

CONTRACTS ARE NOW IN PLACE FOR THIS PROJECT TO COMPLETE BY SUMMER 2024. THIS MEANS THE CHURCH WILL BE CLOSED FROM SATURDAY THE 2 DECEMBER FOR PRE-CONTRACT WORKS AND THE FOLLOWING BUILDING WORKS, TO ACHIEVE THE PROJECT DESCRIBED BELOW.

ALL NORMAL CHURCH ACTIVITIES AND SUNDAY 10:30AM CHURCH SERVICES WILL BE HELD IN OUR CHURCH HALLS ON SITE FOR THE DURATION.

VERY EXCITING TIMES!

THE PROJECT’S HISTORY

St Jude’s Grade II listed church building was built in 1875 to provide a place of worship and to meet the changing needs of a rapidly developing Plymouth population. It has served the local congregation well for around 145 years as a church, but it was limited in its ability to serve current and future generations for anything other than Sunday worship. Our Halls were fully utilised in our community connections. We remained keen to work with and for our local community, but our buildings restricted us so much. A pilot project in partnership with our local GP’s, Councillors, Housing Association etc – St Jude’s Community Hub Cafe – was thriving, quickly showing there was a need, but it was limited in its scope and rapidly running out of space – just a foretaste of partnership that could be available if we could fulfil the vision for this project.

We have been working on the project since the Autumn of 2006, gaining full Local Authority and Church planning permissions (called a Faculty). The project was site wide and the Church part was extensive. However, as it took so long to get final listed building permissions, circumstances came about that we couldn’t predict including changes to the way Charities and Trusts funded capital community projects that were different from when we began. The percentages we knew the project could potentially attract when we began, were now either much less or just no longer available for this type of project.

The church congregation (about 100 people), over and above their normal giving, donated almost £400,000 over five years, in addition to a similar sum from the sale of two buildings we owned. Roofs and the Spire Tower were repaired, all the guttering and underground drainage replaced, driveways widened, the Church Cottage refurbished for potential future inclusion, electrical supplies replaced, glazing protected etc etc. But as we got ready to put in applications for the remaining funds, the changes to potential donors had happened.

Therefore, we reduced the scale of the work, trying to incorporate much of what was in the original, though now for a sum we hoped we could just go ahead with, without significant further fund raising. The project, along with all the prior work, will have been fulfilled by just the Church congregation as our era’s gift to the ‘next era’ of the church and community. Below is a simple drawing of the direction we’re delivering.

We hope that, as with the grand stately homes and the history that is told through their various extensions and upgrades when they were living buildings, that folk will see the living history of this wonderful building through its many stages of life as it has served its community from one era, to the next, to the next. Its structure is being well preserved. The prior designs were very rigorously investigated through heritage groups and the listings process for permissions, as was this new reduced vision. The resulting new internal re-arrangement still honours the past, while presenting a series of flexible spaces for the whole community to be able to use, not just the church congregation.

CURRENT FACILITIES

We do have two church halls, each over 100 years old, whose facilities are restricted though we have also worked hard to improve them with new boilers, re-wiring etc and in 2018 spending some £20,000 on new ramps to ease access with fantastic help from several charities. While we still managed to include providing around 90 under 18’s a safe space each week in the halls, as well as the Community Hub Cafe, we were unable to offer the community the facilities it really needs until we changed the church. It is the largest potential space within the wider area that could only be used for church Sunday services. There were no toilets in the church (or drainage either!) so a short walk was needed to one of our halls. It had very inadequate heating (We had brought forward some additional heaters and new power supplies that were planned for the main original project) and there were no catering facilities. There was difficult disabled access for some. It was a standard, pewed, badly lit, uneven floored, sometimes cold yet very welcoming Victorian church.

This project now makes the church a community asset 7 days a week.

MAJOR RENOVATION

Once completed in the summer of 2024, St Jude’s will again be ready again to respond to the needs in its local area, both as a place of worship and as a functional, accessible building for the wider community, including:

Transforming the traditional ‘church’ interior into a multi-functional, flexible, well-equipped set of varied spaces

A simple servery

Up to date audio and visual facilities

New lighting and heating

Superfast Broadband & WiFi

A café / meeting area

Fully disabled accessible toilets

Wide and flat disabled access in all areas with internal raps to previously inaccessible areas.

THE FUTURE

In an area with very few facilities for the community, these major improvements will enable the church to provide for things like:

Purpose designed spaces, hosting anything from small meetings to conferences for 150

Training days

Youth work

Family events

Safe play for toddlers

Spaces for the community to use

A space to host events from outside agencies

We hope you’re as excited as we are about the future of St Jude’s within its community for the ‘next era’ of its life. If you want to find out any more, do feel free to contact us.