A £1.5m vision to create a church hall and community hub has cleared a vital hurdle after gaining planning consent.
The exciting project at St Mary’s-Without-the-Walls Church in Handbridge will see the run-down church hall replaced with a bigger and better building.
There is a promise the new facility will serve the needs of the church and the community at large, especially south of the river.
St Mary’s Handbridge Centre will comprise a main hall, two community rooms, a cafe and a medical consultation room for the adjacent surgery, which has limited space, together with a 32-space car park.
Two-thirds of the cost of the building has already been raised through local donations, grants from charities and extensive fundraising. To meet the funding target to begin building work in the summer of 2017 is challenging.
A number of fundraising strategies are in place, but to raise the money required the project is seeking financial support from CWaC, the community and businesses.
MBNA has already responded generously by donating £40,000 for the centre. And Eaton Estate has said all proceeds from the sale of the building opposite St Mary’s Church, historically known as the Boys’ Club, will go towards the new community centre.
Church warden Ted Graham, who has driven the project, added: “It would be wonderful if other local companies could also make a generous contribution.”
Donations can be made in the following ways:
■ A cheque payable to ‘St Mary’s PCC Handbridge Centre’ or cash to: The Parish Office, St Mary’s Without-the Walls, Overleigh Road, Handbridge, Chester, CH4 7HL
■ There is also an online JustGiving site for donations linked to St Mary’s Handbridge Centre.
■ Enquiries about the project can be made by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org