Pewsey Development Project


"Community Outreach for the 21st century"

Our Vision for development:

  • To make the church more visible
  • To build bridges into the community
  • To ensure that all parts of the building are accessible to all
  • To make the Church more flexible for community use

Village and Church Profile

Pewsey has a population of some 4,000 and its Methodist Church is the only Free Church in the Vale of Pewsey, an area that includes some 23 villages. Pewsey’s main line railway station provides a link to the West Country and to London (Paddington). The church is at the heart of the village both geographically and in its daily life, with a number of active community-based involvements.

The buildings comprise: the church auditorium with entrance rooms, gallery and a small office; a hall with kitchen, storage room and utility area; three toilets; a passage area, with steep stone steps, between the church and the hall.

The development of the role of our Youth Worker has been phenomenal over the past 3 years and it is hoped that this will expand further over the next 4/5 years. He shares his time between Marlborough and Pewsey.

 

Back in 1997, the following areas for improvement were identified:

Church interior

  • make the accommodation more flexible
  • provision of a PA system

Entrance rooms

  • enlarge area for drop-in centre and informal gathering

Hall and Kitchen

  • improve facilities

Gallery

  • create a meeting room and prayer area

Exterior

  • make the church look more attractive and welcoming

Access

  • make the buildings accessible for wheelchairs

Toilet facilities

  • provide a toilet for the disabled

What progress has been made?

The project went ahead as far as funding and resources would allow, with a refurbished kitchen and utility area to service the hall and a temporary coffee servery (without plumbing) and resources area in the entrance area of the church. In the church itself improved lighting and a new PA system were installed. More recently pews have been replaced by comfortable chairs, and a new electronic organ has been purchased.

 The church developed within the Community:

  • A regular Market Stall opens outside the church once a month. This is the only Christian resources outlet in the village, and is also a place where people can come for a chat.

  • With the help of Voluntary Action Kennet, the church has established a weekly Friendship Club, offering a safe place to develop friendship for those who need it. Activities include board games, jigsaws and computer training with refreshments are provided.

  • Credit Union is now using the church building as a base, and is run by members and other community helpers.

  • The Hall provides a home for many thriving local community groups: a playgroup meets daily; other usage includes local art groups, MIND, St John Ambulance, WEA, and a needle exchange.

  • The refurnished church area provides a second meeting place for local groups: the History Society, numbering over 70, already meets there monthly. In December the village Christmas Fayre uses this area for community action stalls.

  • For the last 4 years the church has held a community ’Gift Wrap Day’ for Operation Christmas Child, and now fills over 500 boxes annually for distribution overseas.

Moving Forward

Plan of church buildingOur aim is to work with community groups by providing an attractive suite of premises and making the most of our central location in the village. The project involves the following:

  • Complying with current legislation by providing a toilet suitable for wheelchair users and disabled access between church, hall and other areas using a wheel chair lift

  • Creating a new side entrance with level access from the road to a new door in the hall. This will improve the current facilities by:

    • making the entrance more accessible to the car park
    • maximising the impact of the premises by creating a focus in the longest side of the buildings
    • creating a shared entrance for the church and the hall, thereby helping to integrate church and community use of the premises
    • creating a new entrance foyer providing a place to meet informally
    • giving space for installing a new coffee bar
    • locating in the foyer displays and information helping to link together all that is going on in the church and community
  • Improving safety and accessibility to the gallery by constructing a new staircase and creating a prayer/meeting room and better storage space there

We estimated the cost of the entire project would be £190,000.

In excess of £190,000 was raised by local effort and contributions.

View a pictorial history of the work in progress right through to final completion.

Contacts

  •  Project Manager: Arthur Johnson

  •  Fundraising Coordinator:  Colin Lampard