Regeneration Project Launched
In the New Year, we finally saw some signs of activity, as the fire safety requirements were resolved in our building. It is good to report that the fire curtain is at last working properly. The new fire doors on the top floor and to the office have been well-received, and are a definite improvement on the old doors.
However, the lack of signs of activity prior to that hides the fact that a group of people have been working hard to bring about the Regeneration Project.
At last year’s General Church Meeting, members agreed that we should go ahead with the project, and in line, more or less, with the plans as shown at the meeting. Since then, adaptions have been made to the plans to facilitate the removal of the choir stalls at the front of the sanctuary, and replace them with a small kitchen area and a toilet or toilets. Also, further investigation revealed that the roof is in a bad way, and cannot simply be patched up, and will have to be renewed. In addition, it was decided by the Church Council that the considerable workload was only viable if the work is phased. The engineering consultants have updated their figures to account for the passing of time, for the extra things, and for the phasing of the work. Their estimates now amount to £1.2 million (including VAT), if we complete all the work.
In addition, the project has been logged with the Methodist Church, and we have 5 years in which to complete it without having to ask for an extension.
To enable it to happen, we need to raise a lot of money. We have committed to raising 10% ourselves, one way or the other (fundraising schemes, gifts, concerts, coffee mornings etc etc!), and we will be applying for grants for the remainder.
The fundraising team, ably led by Jane Bennett, has been at work organising activities spread throughout the year. An additional part of their brief is information and awareness raising - we will not raise the money if we do not keep the project with a high profile throughout the time we are working on it. For that reason, they have arranged activities in every month of the year, and will continue to do that as long as we keep going. A quirky quiz, jam jars for 20p pieces and monthly lunches have all started the ball rolling at our launch on Easter Day.
As you can calculate, the need for grant aid is huge. Unfortunately, we live in a time when available money for worthy projects is rather in decline, and we are going to have to work hard to get the substantial grants that we need to underpin our plans. The intention was that a grant finding team would be led by someone else to spread the workload, but no-one was forthcoming. We are delighted to welcome back on board Jane Forsyth, who has great experience of fundraising, to work with Jane Bennett on this area.
Our first phase will be the downstairs, and will include the lift. This will amount to about £500,000. We cannot commission the work until we have secured the funding, so a lot of work is required in the next few months.
We are grateful to the team members who have given their time thus far. We want to put on record our thanks to Rev Pat Whittaker for her contributions as a representative of our ecumenical friends.
Our need now is for volunteers. At its most basic level, we need the enthusiastic support of the church family for all the activities being organised. However, maybe some people may feel that they can offer more - to join the fundraising team; to suggest (and possibly, though not necessarily, organise) another activity; or to volunteer to be part of the grant application process. If everyone does a little, it will be manageable. If everything is left to the few, it will be impossible.
We have enormous potential - the potential to have a building that is fit to serve the 21st Century, and the potential to be a church community that offers something new and dynamic to the people of Falmouth. Are you willing to be part of a resurrection people?