St Andrew's URC Methodist Church & Community Centre in Sedgley has secured a £50,000 grant from Biffa Award; a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK.
The new entrance and vestibule project was awarded funding under Biffa Award’s Community Buildings theme, and is a vital element of the planned roadside-accessible community cafe. Project works will include the demolition of the old church entrance and the installation of a light and airy, fully glazed, and centrally situated entrance vestibule. A warm and friendly welcome is now assured to all members of the public, whether taking part in some of the many activities on offer or just dropping in for a coffee and a chat. The new entrance will also ensure higher energy efficiency, greater natural light infiltration and improved accessibility for all members of the community.
Originally built in 1857, St Andrew's Church now serves more than 800 users per week, including many from one of the most deprived wards in the area, the Beacon Estate. Having recognised the need for additional space and improved resources, the church is currently undergoing a series of upgrades, including this improvement to access, to encourage the community to access the community cafe and for the planned drop-in and youth activities.
June Weaver, Volunteer Coordinator, St Andrew’s Outreach Committee, said:
“I know that there are many lonely people in Sedgley who will benefit from our proposed new coffee bar which will be more visible from the street and help people become more aware that we are open for them to drop in. Also, with the new improved entrance leading directly from the street, people with mobility problems can either be dropped off easily or will not have far to walk.”
Andy Gray, CEO of Dudley Council for Voluntary Services, said:
“There is no doubt that Local Authority funding cuts are hitting all communities very hard and the Sedgley area is no exception. St Andrew’s Church should be commended that through the refurbishment programme they are trying, under difficult funding circumstances, to make a difference to their local community whilst at the same time finding new ways to ensure greater sustainability and as such they have the full and ongoing support of DCVS.”
Gillian French, Biffa Award Programme Manager, said:
“We’re pleased to be able to support the renovation project at St Andrew's URC Methodist Church & Community Centre, which will create a welcoming facility that the whole community can be proud of.”