Banks Group grant brings warm feeling to Cleator Moor church congregation

November 25, 2011 | Community News

Visitors to Cleator Moor Methodist Church’s community facilities are assured of a warm welcome thanks to a four-figure grant towards a new boiler.

The church, near Whitehaven, acts as a community hub for the residents of Cleator Moor and the surrounding villages, regardless of faith.

It has seven community rooms available, all of which are used regularly every week and which are hugely popular with visitors of all ages.

The £5,000 grant from Banks Renewables, via the Banks Community Fund, has funded the purchase of an energy efficient condensing boiler, which is already reducing fuel bills whilst heating the facilities more efficiently than they were before.

Open since 1934, the church’s community rooms are used regularly by a wide range of local groups, including Age Concern, the Girl Guides and St John’s Ambulance.

They are also the venue for countless community activities, from coffee mornings, tots to teenagers dance classes and brass band practice through to tea dances and ecumenical celebrations like Harvest Festival, when parishioners of all the village’s churches come together.

Reverend Nan Pryde, retired Methodist minister and Chair of Mission Matters committee, believes the new boiler will help to ensure the long-term future of the community resource.

She says: “An average of 250 people come through our doors every week and we often have one group waiting to go in just as another is finishing – on Friday evenings, there are so many people here, you can hardly move!

“Some of our elderly ladies and gentlemen don’t get out very often, but they can meet with friends here and enjoy low cost refreshments – it really is a lifeline for them and forms a central part for our community.

“With many of our visitors being either very young or elderly, it’s especially important that the centre is comfortable and warm all year round.

“We’ve always looking to the future, and have a rolling programme of refurbishment to ensure we’re still open for community use in decades to come – this generous grant from The Banks Group is a real boost for us and we’re extremely grateful for their support.

“Our motto is ‘open for all’ and to do that we need to keep our costs down.  The new boiler has substantially cut our fuel bill, which in today’s economic climate is more important than ever, and everyone involved with our community work is thrilled with the difference it has made to our surroundings.”

Banks Renewables has put forward plans for the proposed Weddicar Rigg wind farm, which would be situated on agricultural land around three kilometres to the east of Whitehaven and over one kilometre away from Moresby Parks.

If the wind farm is approved, around £17million would be invested by Banks in the project, with local firms being able to tender for contracts worth around £3.5million in the site preparation and construction phases of the scheme.

A community benefits fund would also run alongside the scheme, providing further funding for local projects and voluntary groups during the lifetime of the wind farm in order to ensure that a positive long-term legacy results from its presence in the area.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at Banks Renewables, adds: “Our policy at Banks is to deliver tangible economic, social and environmental benefits to the communities in the vicinity of our development projects.  Facilities like those provided by Cleator Moor Methodist Church are central to the vitality of rural communities and the ability of the groups that exist in them to meet and flourish, and we’re very happy to support its invaluable work.

“Reverend Pryde is rightly proud that the church has provided community facilities for so long and we hope our contribution will help to sustain them for many more years to come.”

Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations looking for funding in the vicinity of a Banks Group development should contact Clare Johnson at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

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