Buildings UPDATE from the PCC

You will have noticed that work has now started on the construction of the new kitchen and toilet at the back of the church. We hope it will all be completed in eight to six weeks. The new facilities will enable us to provide much improved hospitality at the back of the church and already we have been thinking about the possibility of hosting a weekly mother and toddler group and an occasional luncheon club for parishioners who would like to meet during the week. The project would not be a success without the hard work of three people in particular: Pierre Fowell who has provided designs and overseen the project, Ian Peacock, who has successfully applied and obtained money from various grant schemes and Guy Hedge, who will be constructing the kitchen. The project has been estimated to cost £35,850, which includes a 7.5% contingency for unforeseen expenditure. We have raised this money from church funds, gifts and grants and the help of a 3-year interest free £12,500 loan from the diocese. At the moment the only expenditure that has not been included in this project is to repair the leather on the doors to the toilet. When they are repaired, they will operate automatically. We also plan to put an automatic opening on the doors to the north west porch so that disabled persons can easily access the church.

You may remember in June last year the church was struck by lightning. This caused damage to the heating controls, the fire alarm system in the Centre and the sound system. We have claimed from our insurance and have repaired the heating controls and the fire alarm system. You will be aware that the sound system has not been repaired yet. This is because experts we have consulted have recommended that we make improvements to the system and this may cost up to £2,000 more. At the same time, you may have noticed that some of the very high lights in the nave are not working. We are therefore intending to apply for a grant with the intention of updating both our lighting and our sound system at the same time. We are sorry that this is taking so long and we ask for your continued patience.

During the past 18 months, there have been several security incidents when the church has been open and the police have advised us to install CCTV at the entrance to the church and to cover the kitchen area. Again, we intend to seek grant funding to cover this.

Finally during the course of this year we hope, once the kitchen is finished, to take time some time to consider how we might improve the layout of the church interior. We are examining the how we might flexibly use the pew frontals, make use of the newly acquired space in the south aisle and where we should display our noticeboards/information tree once the new kitchen is in place.

If you have any questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to ask the vicar or one of the churchwardens and they will answer them or find some one who can! Most importantly we are confident that these developments will continue to help build a church of joy at St Michael’s, where people learn and flourish and find out what it means to live a wholehearted life as a disciple of Christ .