New welcome garden invites in community to Halifax church

Openness and welcome abound in a new garden at All Saints Church Halifax. 
Concerned that the dark, 150 year old exterior and the gloomy graveyard with its leaning monuments was giving the wrong impression of the bright, reordered building, and its lively congregation within, the church decided to create a Welcome Garden.
Without disturbing any remains, most of the gravestones were moved from the north graveyard to other areas around the church. 
The new garden area has been grassed and planted ready for the formal opening next spring.  
New hard surfaces and curved stone and wood seats have been constructed to create an approach to the church which says “open for business”.
Eight local organisations have already expressed an interest in using the Garden; these include the neighbouring church school which has very little outdoor space of its own, plus art groups, children and young people’s groups, the elderly and the local hospital staff wellbeing team. 
A church team has been formed to co-ordinate events, intentionally designed to expand the church’s current relationship with its community; to bring people into the church precincts, and be encouraged to take steps inside.
Project Manager and Reader Ian Byfield said: “The congregation and community have captured the vision of the Welcome Garden and we are confident it will make a major difference to our life and witness in this part of Halifax.”
Early in the new-year, new glass outer doors will be fitted, external lighting renewed and CCTV installed.
The project has been made possible through grants from the National Lottery Community Fund, Community Foundation of Calderdale, All Churches Trust, Bearders Trust; the Bishop’s Development Fund has also promised funds to complete the project. 
In addition the church has raised more than £30,000 in donations and fund raising for the £70,000 project.

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