January 18, 2013 | Community News
Community facilities at a north east Derbyshire village’s Methodist church are undergoing a major upgrade thanks to a five-figure grant from a local renewable energy firm.
The ‘school room’ at Barlborough Methodist Church, which is used for a range of community and church functions, is undergoing a major makeover which will help to bring it up to modern standards.
The existing entrance and toilet facilities have been demolished, and are being replaced by new toilets, baby change facilities and an entrance which provides full disabled access to the building.
The work, which is being carried out by local contractor WH Buck & Sons, is being funded by a £27,000 grant provided by Barlborough-based Banks Renewables, via its Banks Community Fund, and is designed to attract more individuals and groups from across the area to make more and better use of the venue.
Improvements to the building’s heating and water supply will also make the building more economical to run, as well as more user-friendly.
The church is hoping to be able to officially open the new facilities at the end of January, to coincide with the beginning of the celebrations planned for its centenary year.
As well as hosting the church’s Sunday School and luncheon club, the school room is used by community organisations ranging from a toddler group and an art club through to a theatre group and a dance and cheerleading club, and it is hoped that, once the upgrade is complete, the number of people using the venue will quickly increase from the current level of around 100 every week.
Funding for the project has also been received from Garfield Weston, La Farge, Viridor Credits, Bolsover & Staveley Methodist Circuit and Sheffield Methodist District.
Michael Seston, Property Steward at the church, says: “The school room was originally built in the 1940s and has always been well used, but the facilities have become very outdated in recent years and we knew we had to do something about it if it was going to be properly sustainable in the future.
“We try to keep the charges we make for using the school room down to a reasonable level, and were confident that there would be even greater demand from across the community for us to tap into if we were able to bring our facilities up to the standard that people expect these days.
“Even though the building work has yet to be finalised, we’re already seeing greater interest in what we’ll have to offer and are excited at the prospects for the school room once everything is ready.
“Finding the funding required for this type of work is a challenge in the current environment, but Banks were very forthcoming in wanting to help us and we’re very grateful for their support, which will stand us in very good stead as the church enters its second century.”
Banks is the company behind the proposed Losk Lane wind farm to the south of Bolsover, which would sit on land to the north of Glapwell, approximately two miles to the east of the M1 motorway, and which would produce enough renewable energy to meet the annual electricity requirements of around 4,951 homes.
If the scheme is approved, Banks has committed to making a £50,000 investment in setting up a Warm Zone scheme across the Bolsover area, which will deliver a range of energy efficiency improvements into local properties, as well a establishing long-term benefits fund that would enable the company to fund a range of community and environmental improvements in partnership with local people.
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at Banks Group, says: “The church clearly plays a pivotal part in village life, and it’s very fitting that we’ve been able to provide this support at the beginning of its centenary year.
“Our aim is to deliver long-lasting economic, social, employment and environmental benefits such as this to the communities in and around which we’re working or looking to work, and we hope that this project is just the start of the local community improvements we’ll be able to assist in making over the years to come.”