A £95,000 makeover of Guilden Sutton’s century old church hall is awaiting its official launch.
Parishioners at St John the Baptist Church and the wider community will benefit following the re-opening of the much loved hall on Church Lane which has had a major modernisation and improvement inside and out.
The hall will be up and running again following a launch event on Saturday, October 14 to be attended by Chester Villages ward councillors Stuart and Margaret Parker and guest of honour Sheila Button.
The makeover has provided improved access to the building through the construction of a ramp, a disabled toilet with baby changing facilities, a complete refurbishment of the kitchen, new chairs and new double glazed windows all aided by a £50,000 grant from WREN’S FCC Community Action Fund among others.
Church treasurer Bob Williams is delighted the project is now completed. He said: “This vital facility is going to make a real difference to those who already use it as well as the wider Guilden Sutton community.
“We are extremely grateful to WREN for providing funding as we would not have been able to go ahead without its support. Significant contributions from other sponsors have also been essential to the success of the project.”
Mr Williams added: “We recognised the need to make the building more accessible to everyone in the local community and other potential users.
“The hall was last renovated in the 1980s and has seen good service but was in need of an upgrade to modernise the facilities, to keep it warmer with new windows and loft insulation and not least the new ramps making it accessible to all potential users.”
He concluded: “The church hall was erected 103 years ago. By carrying out a thorough inspection we convinced ourselves that the main structure and cladding were in good condition and has many more years of useful life, having been constructed with materials of much better quality and strength than those available today.
“ We must acknowledge the organisations and individuals who gave us grants, gave us donations, carried out fundraising activities and gave us testimonial support to enable us to carry out this project.
“We would like to thank both Bratley Architectural Ltd and Huxtable Hodgson who worked with us on the design and Middleton Construction N/West Ltd and their sub-contractor WE Parsons & Co Ltd who managed the construction of a well executed project.”
WREN is a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community, conservation and heritage projects from funds donated by FCC Environment through the Landfill Communities Fund.
Richard Smith, WREN’s grant manager for Cheshire, said: “It is always good to see a project we have funded reach completion. The enhancements at the church hall will provide better access for all and will ensure that this unique building in the centre of the community can be used and enjoyed for many years to come.”
The hall already attracts 3,000 users a year, including a community cafe and the church believes the makeover will encourage new users by greatly improving access to the building.
Following the opening at 10am on Saturday, the hall will be open until 5pm with further open days on Sunday from noon to 5pm and on Monday between 2pm and 8pm. Refreshments will be served.
Apart from WREN, principal sponsors included The Beatrice Laing Trust, The Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation, Wilding Estates, Cheshire West and Chester Council Rural Support Grant, The Ursula Keyes’ Trust, Guilden Sutton Parish Council, Chester Villages ward councillors Stuart and Margaret Parker, the Allchurches Trust Ltd and Dandy’s Topsoil.