Full Steam Ahead! (3rd May 2022)
Progress on the building continues apace. Most of the roof rafters are in place, timber is across the flat roofs ready for a final covering, and brickwork is well advanced - see the photo of the south end of the hall. Outside the centre itself, the groundworks team is steadily reducing the level of the old car park and completing the drainage system. For our part, a small working group has chosen the floor types and colours for all the communal areas and rooms in the centre. It should look very smart!
It is sometimes easy to forget that CentreForward also includes the building of a new entrance into the church. Work will begin in late June and continue through until September. Some preparatory work will take place during the week beginning 16th May when some lighting cable will be reallocated to the organ loft. Unfortunately, there will be no electricity in the church for most of the week so some groups may be unable to meet. We are very sorry, but the church fuse box has to be disconnected.
We are looking forward to giving a short update at the APCM on 8th May and to answer any questions or concerns that the church family might have.
Going through the roof! (18th March 2022)
The steel roof girders have been craned in and bolted into place so we can now see the shape of the new building. Over the next week or so timber rafters will appear. If you are passing the site, it’s worth taking a look. You won’t be disappointed.
The tours that took place on the 12th March proved to be a great success. People were impressed by the progress that had been made on the build and loved going up the steps to walk around the first-floor area!
Last Saturday a work group, organised by Sue Springate, did some great work clearing and levelling part of the grass area at the rear of the church. Many thanks to all those who helped. The clearance was the first step towards creating a smart leisure area that will complement and enhance the look and feel of the new centre.
The Finishing Line appeal is now entering it’s third week. If you are intending to give, but have not yet done so, it would be great if you could do so within the next couple of weeks. The project team will then know the level of funding available for a full fitting out and can plan accordingly.
A big step up - well, lots actually! (1st March)
The builders craned in the first-floor slabs last week along with the concrete staircase that will lead up from the atrium to the church entrance and first floor. The first-floor walls are now being built up further and it will not be very long before work begins on the roof structure.
We launched our final funding appeal, The Finishing Line, on the 27th February. The target figure is £171,000. Information about the appeal and details on how to give are available in booklet form from the church office and at the back of church. The information is also available for download (above).
We have arranged a final set of tours of the site for Saturday 12th March between 9am and 11am. If you would like to take part you can either book via the church office or sign up on the sheets at the back of church. Each tour will last 20 minutes.
Time for a storey? (9th February)
Feedback from the site tours held on the 29th January was very positive. Nearly sixty people attended. We are very grateful to Fred Simmons, the site manager, for giving up his personal time to show people around.
Extra scaffolding has been erected so that the ground floor walls can be built up to full height. Within the next couple of weeks, the large mobile crane will be returning. When the ground floor walls are complete, it will lift all the first-floor slabs into place together with the staircase that will lead from the ground floor, up to the church entrance, and then up to the first floor. Work will then begin on building the second-floor walls. The roof should start to appear in March!
While all this is going on, the project team is talking to Hystar and contractors about the detailed requirements for the fitting out of the building. At the moment, discussions are centered around electrical work, such as the number and position of power points in each room, and on the cable network that will provide modern digital-based services throughout the building.
Still going up…. and up! (19th January)
Blockwork for the walls of the ground floor rooms is moving on at a fast pace with many hundreds of blocks laid so far. It is very exciting to see the walls of all the rooms growing by the day and to get an idea of how fantastic our new centre is going to be.
Why not come along and see for yourself? Fred Simmons, the site manager, is leading seven consecutive tours of the site on Saturday 29th January at 9am, 9.20, 9.40. 10am, 10.20, 10.40 and 11am. You will need to book your place in advance by filling in the booking form at the back of the church, emailing the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning the church office on 07928 824251. There will be a maximum of twelve people per tour and stout footwear must be worn. Children are allowed provided they are properly supervised. We look forward to seeing you there!
We’ve been framed…. (20th December)
The build continues to be on schedule. The steel frames that will form the front of the new centre have been delivered, bolted together, and lifted into place. Last week a very large crane lifted all the floor beams into position across the site together with hundreds of concrete blocks that will fill the spaces between the beams. This work is nearly complete and will be followed by the building of the centre’s walls between now and the spring of 2022. However, the builders are taking a well-deserved two week break between Christmas and the New Year!
Meanwhile, the tents in the garden at the rear of the church are now in regular use by the children’s and youth groups and are proving a great hit.
A very busy time……! (3rd December)
Work has begun on a large retaining wall between the new centre and the northwest corner of the church. Very excitingly, the builders will soon be erecting the steel frames that will form the front of the new centre. This will give us an early sight of how the building will eventually look beside the church – another significant milestone for CentreForward.
The sale of 47 Park Hill Road completed on 3rd December, and we look forward to welcoming our new neighbours. As reported previously, the purchasers have generously agreed to us using the church office, that is attached to the house, and the storage marquee in the garden, until the end of June 2022. Rachel Armitage (Church Administrator), Sam Lomas (Assistant Minister) and Helen Machell (Children and Families Minister) are now sharing a re-arranged office.
Two bell tents have been erected on the land behind the church for the Sunday hosting of the children’s groups that can no longer use the house. Stephen Crawley has done a great job in providing lighting and heating for each tent and Sam and Helen have been busy making sure that the tents will be cosy and colourful, ready for our children and young people to use every week!
Soakaway complete (25h November)
Building work is slightly ahead of schedule thanks to the mild and dry weather during most of November. This week has seen the digging of a very large hole for the soakaway in the old car park and the insertion of the plastic “honeycomb” drainage units. Now that work is complete, the focus will move to the building of a large retaining wall at the rear of the site.
Sale of 47 Park Hill Road (17th November)
We have exchanged contracts for the sale of 47 Park Hill Road. Completion is set for the 3rd December after which the house will no longer be available for church use. However, the new owners have kindly agreed to our using the church office next door, together with continued use of the storage marquee in the rear garden, until the end of June 2022. The proceeds of the sale will be used to help fund the building of our new centre.
Building work continues to progress well. Recent days have seen work securing the church foundations around the area of the old north porch where the new centre will be joined onto the church.
We are most grateful to everyone involved with the successful fundraiser Pre-Christmas Coffee Morning event last Saturday that raised over £800 in support of CentreForward.
Blocks are now in place... (5th Nov 2021)
The Beatrice Laing Trust has given CentreForward a grant of £20,000 following our application earlier this year. We are very grateful to the Trust for this generous gift.
Building progress continues. Blocks are now in place ready to take the ground floor concrete beams, but delivery of the beams will not be until December – a sign of the shortages and delays in the supply chain that we are hearing so much about. As a result, the builders have rescheduled the work programme and brought forward the installation of a very large soakaway under the old car park to this month. Meanwhile, drainage work will continue as planned on the main site.
A new fence and entrance gate has been erected on the south side boundary, replacing the old and damaged chestnut paling. It will provide much improved security for the new centre, once built, and the church. It will also protect two temporary tents that are to be set up on the land behind the church to house children’s and other groups after the house in Park Hill Road is sold.
The digging continues… (13th October)
Threequarters of the foundations have been dug and filled with concrete. The remainder due for completion within the next couple of days. All surplus soil and chalk currently on site is in the process of being removed by a fleet of lorries for repurposing.
The next couple of weeks will see the start of brick and blockwork laying on the foundations and the building of the “block and beam” floors for the ground floor rooms. Work will also start on installing the drainage system – an unglamorous but fundamentally important task!
Foundation course….. (28th September)
The large drainage soakaway at the rear of the church is complete and is now covered up. Another large soakaway will be installed under the old car park area later in the year. The components are stacked on the Woodcote Hall side of the site.
A large section of the centre has been marked out with blue lines and vertical rods ready for the excavation of foundations. New heavy machinery is now on site and the pouring of concrete is due to start on 1st October. The layout of the new centre will then start to appear!
Levelling up! (21st September)
The groundworkers are now on site. The bushes on the Woodcote Hall side of the old car park are gone, part of the grassed area at the rear of the church is now level with the original hall site, and the roots of the lime trees, which are covered by Tree Preservation Orders, are now protected.
Work has begun on building a large drainage soakaway at the west end of the site. Once this work is complete the foundations will be marked out ready for excavation. Then the build begins!
It’s gone! (1st September 2021)
Our old hall is no more! Every piece of the old building, including the foundations, has been taken away for recycling, wherever possible. The site is now flat, ready for the groundwork for the new building to start within the next few days.
Our local MP, Elliot Colburn visited the site on 1st September and was shown around by our Minister, David King, and the Managing Director of Hystar, Tim Hyde. After the visit he told us “I was absolutely thrilled to visit St Patrick’s Church for the first time on Wednesday to hear more about the exciting plans for the new church hall. The new centre will be a vital asset for the local community with improved accessibility and facilities for all to enjoy. I look forward to returning to the Church when the centre is open to celebrate with the community”.
The project team is now meeting once a month with Hystar, our builders, to review progress. These meetings will continue until October 2022 when the centre will be ready for use. The meetings are led by James Matthewson of Chawton Hill, a firm of quantity and building surveyors, who we have contracted to represent us on all building-related matters during the build period. We do not have sufficient expertise in this area, so it is a job for the professionals!
Going, going………starting, starting (17th August 2021)
Demolition of the hall is well underway. As we write, the entrance and stairs, the lounge, the kitchen, the toilets, and a large part of the roof have all gone - with the rest to follow within the next few days. Last week, our own Marty Murrihy helped by manning the digger and taking down part of one of the old lounge walls. Marty was the winner of a free raffle for this unique experience but although he made it look easy we think he found it far more difficult to do than it appeared! Click here to see a short video of Marty’s heroic achievement:
Although the hall has almost gone, and we won’t see our new replacement building opening until next autumn, that doesn’t mean that all the groups that used to use the hall won’t be able to meet. On Tuesday we started the first of many meetings, that will now be held in the church, by holding a tea party for the Lunch Club. Over 40 people attended and by all accounts a great time was had by all. There was certainly a lot to catch up on!
Fencing Is Up (6th August 2021)
If you walked past the church recently you will have seen that despite the plan to start demolition on Monday, the hall is still standing! This is because there was a delay in getting the perimeter fencing delivered and the demolition contractor has been delayed in getting to site.
The good news is that the fencing is now up and demolition work will start in earnest on Monday 9th August. We’re told that the first couple of days will be spent stripping out the inside of the hall and that the demolition of the hall should start around Wednesday. Keep an eye out on social media to find out when the bulldozers start to move in!
Remember, if you have any questions or need information you can always email the project team at email@example.com
A sad goodbye! (29th July 2021)
We are very sad! The time has come to say goodbye to our church hall that has served us so well over the past fifty-seven years in helping people come to know to know Jesus and which holds so many fond memories for so many people. We always planned to say goodbye in proper style but sadly this has just not been possible with Covid. Please thank the Lord for providing the hall, and for all it has done for us, in your prayers.
Building work is starting on the 2nd August. Next week will see a lot of activity as the construction site is made ready and preparations are made for demolition. The car park will be closed along with access the north porch and a perimeter fence will be erected around the whole of the construction site. We will probably also see the start of the demolition of our old hall, but we don’t have a precise date just yet.