After four years of planning, consulting and fund-raising, work has now started on a project at the church that should address two problems – the lack of a community venue in St Asaph, and the need to renovate the church.
With the support of the former Community Association, the City Council, our MP and AM, and most importantly the people of St Asaph, the scheme will transform the parish church into a warm, welcoming and well-equipped building, a venue for community activities whilst continuing as the parish church. It is hoped that the work will be complete by May 2020.
What will this entail? There will be a fully equipped kitchen, a small meeting room and new toilets, all at the rear of the church, with stairs and stairlift to a gallery above (see images below). There will be new heating and lighting systems. Having removed the pews, there will be a large flexible-use space in both naves, and new lightweight stackable chairs. The vestry will become available as a meeting room. Lighting to the churchyard path and a ramp onto the grass will be included.
How is this being funded? Funding has come from many sources. Initially it began with the sale of the old cemetery chapel on Mount Road. We are indebted to the National Churches Trust (£7,300) and the Diocesan Transformation Fund (£15,000) for supplying crucial project development funds at an early stage.
Subsequently a major grant from the Welsh Communities Facilities Programme of £250,000 enabled the project to go ahead. The St Asaph Community Association has generously given £27,000 in recognition of the future role of the building as a venue for community activities. We are very grateful to the Gwynt Y Mor fund, which has contributed £31,000 to install the new heating system, and to Churchfields Community Trust which has contributed £5,000. The National Churches Trust has also given a further £15,000 towards the furnishing and fittings. Many fund-raising activities have been undertaken by members of the congregation, who have also contributed generously.
It is likely that some funds will still be required for further equipping of the building, and so fund-raising will continue.
How will the building be used for community activities? Several such activities have already been taking place there. The DCC Youth Club have been meeting there every Monday evening. The WI, Rotary and the church have been jointly organising monthly teas for the elderly and isolated. In addition, Tea@2 offered activities and a monthly tea for those with dementia and their carers. Weekly Welsh conversation classes were held there. Our Community Police Officer has had his base there. Holiday club for young children took place during school holidays, and of course a range of different events such as Naturefest, the Spring Fair, and Welcome to St Asaph event have all taken place there in recent years.
These activities will continue and develop after the renovation project is complete.
A whole range of other community activities are envisaged – and this is where the community comes in! They could include concerts, drama, tea-dances, exhibitions, keep-fit, mother and toddler groups and fund-raising events. The church will be available for private functions, clubs, charities and commercial bookings for meetings and conferences. In other words, it will serve as a well-equipped community hall.
How can it continue as our parish church?
It will continue in its full role as the Parish Church; with the weekly Sunday service at 9.30am, the Thursday service at 10.00am, and the monthly Sunday Messy Church at 11.00am. Arrangements for Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals can be arranged as required; with the added benefit that catering for such events may be held in the church.
Who is going to run all this? It will need a community management team to work alongside the church committee, with members predominantly made up of local volunteers. We hope to recruit volunteers next spring to help with running community activities. Funding is also being sought for a part-time manager for the first three years, to set up and develop the community use.
If you feel that you are able to assist by donation towards this project, or towards the church in general, then please go to our ‘Giving’ section (or just search Giving) and use the simple on-line ‘Giving’ facility or any of the other methods of donating. All donations, however large or small, will help to sustain this historical medieval church, to be a place of welcome and friendship for everyone who worships here, for our community, and for our visitors.
3D Model Images. The images below represent the main changes within the building; those on the left illustrate the mezzanine floor in place, and on the right the mezzanine floor and porch ceiling is removed to view the kitchen, quiet room, toilets, storage, and passageway to the vestry. A glass balustrade will be fitted to the front (east) edge of the mezzanine floor to allow a clear view in to the naves.