An exciting partnership between church and community has given a new lease of life to a Victorian church building and provided flexible accommodation for a variety of community activities.
St John’s, Wainfelin, is much larger than the present congregation needs. So a partnership with the Wainfelin Regeneration Project (WARP) has provided self-contained spaces suitable for IT training and other activities plus a large meeting hall within the main part of the building, leaving the east end as a space for worship.
Vicar, Canon Brian Pippen, says of the project:
"This is an exciting opportunity for the church to share its resources with the community and to a great extent it has been driven by the community, with the former Torfaen councillor for the area, Mrs Yvonne Warren, making a great contribution.
“The funding has come from two sources. The Community Centre group was successful in its bid to the Community Facilities and Activities Programme, which funded the community side of the project, and St John’s Church was awarded a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund which, along with match funding from the church, repaired the roof and bellcote.”
The changes have been carefully designed to provide flexible use whilst retaining the character of the grade II listed building. Repairs to the roof and outside walls mean the building is now watertight. Internal work includes new heating, kitchen and toilet facilities. The car park has been upgraded so people can more easily access the new facilities.
Mr Steve Groucott of WARP was responsible for the project design. He says:
"This was an interesting project that preserves and extends the use of the church building into the wider community. The effort put into the renovation of the Grade II listed building, balancing new uses with original materials and features, has resulted in a flexible scheme in a format that can allow both church services and community use without restriction. Working with clients Canon Pippen and the WARP Team together with main contractors S C Moore enabled the scheme to be developed and completed without any problems.”
Mr Paul Murphy MP will perform the opening ceremony on Friday 21st October following a service of dedication led by the Bishop of Monmouth, Rt Revd Dominic Walker OGS. Welcoming the initiative, the bishop says:
“It is always good to see churches reaching out to the local community to show God’s love in action. I congratulate all who have been involved in this project and wish it every success.”
Note for Editors
The timetable for the opening is:
10.00am open to the public
10.30am the dedication service
11.00am (approx) The Opening Ceremony by Mr Paul Murphy MP
11.10 the pupils from Padre Pio School sing
11.20 Closing remarks by Canon Pippen
11.30 Refreshments and the public have a look around.
Open evening 6.00pm – 9.00pm when the Family history Group will demonstrate the Family Searches and there will be displays of users etc.
Contact: Revd Canon Brian Pippen 01495 762228