Plans underway to spend ‘£300,000 raised in a day’

Parishioners are ready to get planning and spend £300,000 of community funds in a huge overhaul at St John’s church.

And the whole town is invited to get involved and be part of restructuring as the church sets out an all-important consultation ahead of work.

The church put out a plea for help last October when it was found that over £260,000 was needed for reordering and work to make the building off Warwick Road more accessible and user-friendly.

In just one day, the total was exceeded in generous pledges and work is now ready to get going and bring the community together in more creative ways.

A reordering open day will be held on June 14 where all are welcome to share views, see provisional drawings of proposed designs and meet those behind the story so far.

Reverend Andrew Atwood said it was all about getting people together in more creative ways to improve the church and what it can offer.

“We are getting very excited about what could be done with this beautiful building, for the benefit of the local and town community,” he said.

“Our aim is to create a warm, flexible space which could be available for large or smaller activities and events, with the building used most days of the week.

“It would be great to hear again from our local community what they can imagine the building could be used for.”

The existing function of the building as a place of worship will be retained and developed, but the community’s vision is to make the space more available and useful.

The building team - Mark King, Rob Cheetham and Charlie Palmer - will be on hand from 10am and later at 2pm during the open day to 
explain ideas to residents.

The “incredible” pledges to fund the revamp flooded in over just one Sunday in what Rev Atwood put as testament to how valued the church is at the heart of its community.

He explained that work is essential to better suit the changing needs of the community and prepare for an increased congregation when hundreds of homes are built on land at Thickthorn.

The first phase will include new heating and seats, removal of organ pipes and to make seating movable to create space for a refreshments area.

The parish is made up of around 260 people and the church already offers help to new mums, young families, the elderly and disabled.

The reorder plan hopes to increase this usage and stop the building being closed up for much of the week.

A survey and short video of the building imagined without pews is at

Contact 853203 or for more information.