St Paul’s is privileged to have a superb location near the railway station in Winchester, a lively and diverse congregation and an extensive community programme. We are keen to conserve the best of what we have but also to extend and significantly improve our facilities to serve the area as well as we can.
We did major housekeeping work at the St Paul’s site in phased stages between 2009 and 2016. This included re-tiling and insulating the church and hall roofs plus car park and entrance work and boiler replacements. Now our premises are weatherproof, we are planning substantial improvements that should have a significant effect on the beauty and safety of the church and on the quality of what we can offer the community – for spiritual and secular groups alike. Some of these ideas have been under discussion for about 20 years, and it is time to implement them!
In simple terms, Building for Life at St Paul’s involves:
- re-flooring to create a safe, single-level floor; underfloor heating; internal re-ordering
- meeting space, new chapel, kitchen & toilets within church
- community facilities: purpose-built pre-school, office spaces, staff flats, kitchen
Plans are well developed and the church has already put in place a temporary re-ordering that has been very well received. Our project architect is Antony Feltham-King of St Ann’s Gate, Salisbury, and a parish steering group meets monthly to progress the work.
The anticipated project cost of the internal re-ordering and new facilities within St Paul’s is £910,000, including a contingency of £60,000, and on 9 July 2017 we launched an appeal within our church communities with the hope of raising just over half of the sum from our own worshippers. The response has been stupendous. We’re really grateful to everyone who has shown their commitment by generous pledges, donations and some wonderful match-funding.
Since February 2018 we have been working on the second strand of our appeal, with a team of volunteers approaching grant-making trusts that have a remit to support building projects in churches or to reach out to the local community, as Building for Life seeks to do. We are hugely encouraged and thankful for grants already offered, and we ask for continued prayers, please.
Meanwhile we have been engaging in a third strand, contacting our wider community and businesses across Winchester that might be attuned to our aims and willing to contribute to our project. This has included a variety of wonderful fund-raising events, including our annual Community Day.
Our congregational giving, together with funds from the Friends, a legacy, a Community Appeal and various events, plus grant funding – a charitable donation for disabled access, grants from Allchurches Trust and the Rank Foundation and pledges from the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Congregational & General Charitable Trust and Hampshire and the Islands Historic Churches Trust – means we have ‘just’ £245,650 left to raise.
Planning permission granted!
In March 2018 we received the Building for Life Easter gift we’d been hoping for. The Church of England has its own planning permission process for internal changes to churches. After much very careful work by our architect and the team at St Paul’s we got a Faculty – the permission we need. And in May 2018 we were granted planning permission by Winchester City Council – so all necessary permissions are in place. We are grateful to everyone who made this possible, including all who prayed.
Building for Life is supported by a specific prayer team and the following prayer underpins all our development work.
God our Father,
we give you thanks for all the blessings
you have shown your people in this city and this parish.
We seek your continued guidance
on our journey as pilgrim people.
We ask that through your Holy Spirit
you will bless our efforts
to embrace the Building for Life campaign.
Open our hearts and minds
as we take these next steps
and so enable us to continually grow
as a community of believers. Amen.