Great news! Our first phase building works are complete. The church has been rewired and the heating and lighting systems replaced. At last we have a beautifully lit, warm church. Please do pop in and see the results of all the fabulous fundraising over the last few years.
We have also had the brilliant news that we have been awarded substantial funding from both the Garfield Weston Anniversary Fund and from the City Bridge Trust. This means we will be able to carry out a second phase of the project next year to provide excellent facilities in the church so it can be used by all sorts of community groups and for all sorts of community events. This work includes toilets, kitchen, step free entrance and lobby, internal ramps, storage and hopefully new flooring. Thank you so much to everyone who has support the project.
What are the problems?
We launched our Regeneration Project in 2012 to address these clear needs:
- Flooring: the old carpet is a trip hazard and there are holes in the floor where the grates are collapsing. The floor urgently needs replacing.
- Electrical systems are failing: after inspection the wiring and electrical boards have been deemed as “urgently beyond repair” and have been condemned.
- Heating: this runs off the electrical system above. The overhead strip heat bars are obsolete so when one breaks it cannot be replaced. Additional gas blowers installed no longer meet Church regulations so must be replaced.
- Accessibility: the church has only one toilet and this is not accessible for wheelchair users.
- Better core facilities: we need a proper kitchen, accessible to all, to serve the many community groups using the space and for our own church needs. Currently we have large amounts of equipment stored behind movable screens. This is far from ideal and not as safe for our children as we would like. We desperately need large storage cupboards.
- Smaller Spaces: for children’s work, small group meetings etc
What are the plans to address these problems?
The plans are for:
- A new underfloor heating system boosted by radiators.
- A new wooden floor.
- A new access path to the building and lobby.
- Toilets at the back of church, including one with disabled access and baby change facility.
- A new kitchen with serving hatch, accessible for use by all.
- Large storage cupboards.
- 2 new rooms; a community room and an office.
By completing these urgent works and safeguarding the building, we can make a long-term, sustainable contribution to the local community by providing a safe and warm space for worship, leisure, health, education, childcare and other services that benefit all people of all ages and abilities in our community.
Why is the church worth saving and improving?
St John’s is a Grade 2 listed building and a beautiful Victorian church. It is at the heart of the Spring Grove estate which was developed between 1865 and 1880 and has a central role in its history.
As well as a place of worship the church is also a multi-purpose community space for all sorts of activities and events that benefit local people whatever their faith or none. See the list of church users below.
Our vision is to refurbish and develop the church both to be a community hub and a heritage centre to share the fascinating Victorian history of this area.
St John’s Regular and Occasional Users
Little Groover’s Parent and Toddler Group
Chinese Community Playgroup
Spring Grove Morris Men and Kingston Morris Group
Kingston Orpheus Choir
Sing4 Community Choir
Samantha Trust Meditation Group
Kingston University for examinations, concerts and recitals, services organised by Student Wellbeing
Rees UK retail training courses for those on job seekers allowance
Sunday Evening Youth Club
National Childbirth Trust
8218 Young Theatre Group
The Lord’s Church, Korean Church
Monday Afternoon Club (for older people)
Spring Grove Fringe Amateur Dramatics Group
Local schools especially St John’s C of E Primary, Bedelsford School, Surbiton High School and Surbiton High Junior Girls.
Kingston Kindergarten for visits and the grounds for activities, games etc
Thames Youth Orchestra
Kingston Philharmonic Orchestra
Linden Wind Orchestra
Kingston Council for a polling station and for family group conferences
All Saints Church Embroiderers
All Saints Listening Group for training
Frederick Paine’s Funeral Directors for annual memorial service
Table tennis group
Other Regular and Occasional Uses
Charity Coffee mornings
Private rehearsals for a charity Play at Kingston College
Film/Video making by private companies
Individuals and professional musicians for piano/instrument practise
Community events and functions including fetes, barn dances, quiz nights, frock swop events etc
Private English lessons
Would you like to use the refurbished space?
If so please get in touch with Rev’d Vicky. She’d be very pleased to meet with you to discuss availability. The upgraded building will be a beautiful, warm, safe space for all sorts of activities and events.
The Building Plans
We have the local authority permissions we need for works. The ecclesiastical permissions have been given in principle but will be confirmed once the detailed plans are finalised and submitted.
We hope to carry out an accessibility audit soon to make sure our plans are addressing all the accessibility problems in the building.
Much progress was been made with fundraising.
Huge thanks to our fundraising team and to the many community groups who are generously organising events, who have made donations or are helping in any way; among them Kingston Kindergarten, St John’s School, Little Groovers, our book fair team, Spring Grove Fringe Amateur Dramatics Group, Spring Grove Residents Association, Mill Street Residents Association, Frederick Paine’s Funeral Directors, the Orpheus Choir, Bellarinas, McClusky’s off-licence, Spring Grove Newsagents, the Linden Wind Orchestra and Jacqui Dancer the local yoga teacher.
The support of so many in our local community is greatly appreciated.
If you’d like to organise a fundraising event or make a donation please contact the Rev’d Vicky Maunder at email@example.com.
The Blossom Scheme
In March 2014 we launched a fundraising initiative called the Blossom Scheme which invites people to make a regular contribution to the project as a one off donation or over a three year period. It has been extremely well supported with 57 patrons so far pledging an amazing total of £52,990 to the project fund over the next few years of which £25,260 has already been received (26/3/15). We are extremely grateful to them for their generosity.
We have an excellent, hard working team researching grant making bodies and we hope to start applying for grants soon.
If you’d like to offer any time and help to the project that would be very much appreciated. We are always looking for people to join our fundraising team or to volunteer at fundraising events. Or if you have any particularly skills that might be of help to the project, like experience with grant applications or event fundraising or knowledge of funding bodies Rev’d Vicky would love to hear from you. Please do be in touch with her.
If you’d like to join our e-mail list to receive monthly e-mail updates on the project including information of upcoming fundraising events please let Rev’d Vicky know.