Building Project

KIRKHAM METHODIST CHURCH, Nelson Street, Kirkham, Preston, Lancashire, PR4 3DG.

Future plans for our community.

The original Kirkham Methodist Church in Nelson Street was built in 1887. A smaller church was built in front of this in 1959 and the old church became a hall used by community groups from the surrounding area.

Various groups have used our hall over the years and currently we are fully occupied, so we have no space for other user groups.

Church members carried out a door-to-door survey of the houses immediately surrounding the church premises, properties ranging from Victorian terraces, pre-war semis to 70’s bungalows. We wanted to know what our immediate neighbours wanted that would make life better for them. We have some spare land that could be built on and we wanted to know how best to use it.

The results of the survey were very positive and mainly revolved around providing something for the different age groups that we spoke to. These covered teenagers, young mums and retired people.

Currently we have no spare space in our buildings for other groups to use, as our main hall is used every day by Kirkham Pre-School and in the evenings we have an amateur dramatic group, a yoga club, a ladies group from the church, Rainbows, Brownies and Guides and on Saturdays we have a junior dance group. We feel that we are doing some things right for our community, but there is more we could do.

We had an architectural partnership design a scheme that we think would satisfy the further needs of our community, but the cost is too high to tackle in one hit. We have re-thought this strategy where we can complete just the inside work and reduce the initial budget from £225k to a more manageable £56k for the first phase.

For this we would be able to take a small room (currently too small to be of use to an outside group) and combine it with three other spaces to make a larger room with an open-plan kitchen. This would be available for many different users. We would also make two unisex disabled toilets to provide more up-to-date facilities, and make the entrance area bigger and more attractive for all our users. Currently this has no heating and is being addressed in the new scheme.

Once that phase is complete we will carry on fundraising to extend and enlarge this entrance area to provide extra seating with tables where we could serve coffee and refreshments, and that could be used by another group if required.

Every morning there are children being dropped off for Pre-School at church and for the Primary School next door, and those parents were canvassed in our survey and said that coffee and tea would be very welcome when they drop their children off, especially in the winter.

The church has embarked on its own, enthusiastic fund raising led by a small team of people and has produced a calendar of events through the year. We have also engaged Community Futures, from Fulwood, to help us with applying for funds from organisations in sympathy with our ideals.

Our community outreach is an important part of our philosophy and, going by our track records so far, it looks as though we are doing some things right, but we know there is still a need in our area that isn’t being addressed. We are convinced that, with financial support from sympathetic organisations we could turn this idea into a reality.

May 2015