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Funding boost for Stalham Baptists’ room refurb

Stalham Baptist Church has received a Grant Aid offer of £250,000 from Norfolk County Council to enable them to proceed with a major refurbishment of their Community Rooms. Tony Rothe reports.

The church hosts many activities and events throughout the week, including a Foodbank, Community Fridge, Tuesday ‘Coffee & Chat’, a “warm spaces” provision, and various other community events.


The worship area was fully refurbished in 2012 to make a modern, welcoming space, but it is now necessary to give some care and attention to other parts of the church buildings, particularly the school room, which currently has an outside toilet and a small inadequate kitchen. 


Plans have been passed to repair, modernise and improve this area. Work will include:

•          The Schoolroom – a damp-proof course, new floors, windows, wider doors, new roof lights, ceilings, electrical rewiring, and a new heating system, access ramp with handrail, insulation to floors, walls ceilings, which will reduce the carbon footprint and provide a more comfortable.

•          Installation of Unisex/Disabled Toilets to incorporate baby changing facilities.

•          Installation of a new and larger kitchen – to provide the potential for up to one hundred people to attend Lunch Club/Coffee and Chat/Youth cafes.

•          Creation of a room over the toilets and kitchen for small group meetings/office.

•          Widening the link corridor to facilitate wheelchair users and easier access for a larger number of people.


It is hoped that the work will start in May 2023 and be completed by the end of November.


The improved space will enable the church reinstate and expand their community activities, including a Dementia cafe with fun activities for folk and opportunities for their carers to meet others, Adult Education classes such as help with Job Search, interview, Computer and job application skills, support for digital inclusion, expanded lunch club, more social events, After School clubs, Youth work, Mother and Toddler Group, School Holiday Club, Christians Against Poverty (CAP), expanded youth provision, a Community Food Hub, which would embrace the foodbank and community fridge, as well as developing the provision of warm safe spaces for those needing that support.


Maggie Harpur, a trustee of Stalham Baptist Church, said: “We’re thrilled that the County Council has awarded our Community Rooms such a generous grant. This funding will mean our exciting vision of an inclusive space for everyone in Stalham can now go ahead. Stalham Baptist Church is a local church with its community at heart and we can’t wait to get the project off the ground so that we can extend the range of our activities and support even more people in need in the local community. We want to see people’s lives transformed and hope restored”


The funding has come from Norfolk County Council’s Social Infrastructure Fund which awards capital grants to organisations who can use the money to improve facilities for communities and boost the level of local community services. This year’s funding pot totalled £1 million, with £225,000 to continue the successful partnership with Norfolk Community Foundation in expanding their Nourishing Norfolk food hubs across the county, and £775,000 available for individual projects to improve communities across Norfolk.


Other Norfolk churches to benefit from funding are North Lynn Methodist Church who will get £50,000 to renovate and create new space to become an accessible community asset to host a variety of social events, Aylsham Community Church who will receive £28,000 to refurbish the Jubilee Family Centre so it can once again offer a warm, welcoming, and safe space for the community, and Sutton Parochial Church Council who will get £12,000 to add a kitchen and toilet to the church to enable it to be used as a community space.


A number of other organisations have benefitted in this funding round, including Whitlingham Country Park, Banningham and Colby Community Hall, Watton community centre, Castle Acre Village Hall, and Silver Road Community Centre and Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich.


Cllr Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “The projects which have been successful have demonstrated their commitment to supporting the people of Norfolk, and they should be incredibly proud of the work that they are doing, and the work which this funding will enable them to do.”


To read our previous story about Stalham Baptist Church’s refurbishment plans, click here.

Visit www.stalhambaptist.org.uk


Do you have a news story or forthcoming event relating to Christians or a church in East Norfolk?  

If so, e-mail [email protected] with details and, if possible a suitable picture. 

Tony Rothe, 03/03/2023

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