Church hall re-opens its doors as new community hub

Whitkirk’s St Mary’s once tired and run down church hall has re-opened its doors as a new community hub in Leeds with the help of Allchurches Trust.

The hall has benefited from an extensive internal refurbishment which will enable it to expand its social and wellbeing services, helping to reduce isolation, increase independence and maintain good physical and mental health in the local community.

An eye catching focal point of the improved building comes from artist Sue Kershaw, who, with help from the congregation and local school children, installed a three-piece mosaic design in the new entrance hall (pictured above with the Rt Revd Bishop Paul Slater of Kirkstall, who attended the opening of the Leeds hub).

The project has also created a new toilet block, an extended kitchen, a new parish office and café, as well as a refurbished bar and improved storage facilities. This all means that the hall can offer an events space for hire.

Allchurches Trust Grants Officer, Peter Mojsa, who attended the opening ceremony said: “This new community hub will give people with disabilities, older people and those who may be feeling socially isolated, access to a range of activities that will increase independence and help them to live happier, healthier lives.”

The four-month long redevelopment of the hall was instigated following a community survey in April 2017 which revealed a definite need for new facilities and services in the area. The hall, which already offered activities such as an art club for older people, bereavement support and a lunch club, hopes the building improvements will lead to a more than 40% rise in community engagement per year.

Allchurches Trust helped support the redevelopment of the hall with a £4,500 grant.

Project Manager, Shelagh Freer, said: “The generous grant from Allchurches Trust has helped towards funding the total cost of refurbishing our dated Church Hall. We now have a wonderful improved facility, not only for use by the church congregation but available to all in the local community. Our old tired church hall has been transformed and is now a vibrant community hub, providing a welcoming and safe space for people of all ages.”

To find out more information about Allchurches Trust and whether your church might be eligible to apply for their funding, please visit their website.

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