Lowestoft church transformation is complete
2010: St. Andrew’s Church, Lowestoft, is celebrating its £750,000 transformation into a warm and welcoming hub for the local community, just in time for one local couple to get married there.
The church, located in the deprived Roman Hill area of Lowestoft, has undergone extensive building work as part of the Access All Areas project which transformed the cold, inflexible and underused facility into a warm building for a wide range of community uses at the same time as continuing as the church for the parish of Roman Hill.
The Vicar, Mark McCaghrey says “It is hard to believe that it is the same building. We had got so used to the building being cold and unwelcoming, feeling cramped and underused. But now the building is full of light. It is warm. And it has so much potential. When people who knew the old building come in, they are amazed.”
Blackburns Construction Limited started work to renovate, expand and enhance the building in March and have completed work nine weeks early, just in time for it to be fully open for St. Andrew’s Day and Christmas.
Jean Woodrow, Churchwarden, said “St. Andrew’s Day is a very important time for us as St. Andrew is the patron saint of the church. So we are planning a special celebration service at 6:30 pm on Sunday 28th November to celebrate the completion of the new facilities. We hope many people will be able to join us”.
It is also just in time for Sam Wiseman and Steve Dupas (pictured below) to become the first couple to get married in the new building on the 10th Anniversary of their first date.
Sam said “It’s a great honour to be the first couple to be married after the renovations and it has made our day that much more special.”
Seven years ago the congregation of St. Andrew’s went door to door to ask the local residents what they wanted to see in their area. Residents said that they wanted better community facilities and more activities for all ages. With nowhere else in the area to put new facilities the church decided to refashion the existing St. Andrew’s building to provide the community with the facilities it needed. After years of planning and fundraising, the Access All Areas project is the result.
All existing groups and Sunday services have continued through the building work and will be joined by new activities making the most of the new facilities which include access to the award winning garden, wireless internet connection, a training suite, sound amplification with loop for the hard of hearing throughout, and the ability to cater for groups from two to two hundred. The alterations have also replaced the small dark lobby with a large light room that will be used as a community café.
A wide range of local and national grant making groups and individuals, including the Big Lottery Fund Community Building Programme, Lowestoft Together, WREN, the Diocese of Norwich, Suffolk Environmental Trust and Geoffrey Watling, funded the project.
Jean said, “We are very grateful to our funders and individuals who have given to the project. Without their generosity none of this could have happened.”
Pictured above: keys being handed over from the builder contractors to ourselves. In the picture (L to R) is: Stuart Offord, Architect; Jean Woodrow, Churchwarden; Danny Brunton, of Blackburns Ltd, Gill Gabb, Churchwarden and Mark McCaghrey, Vicar.