The Methodist Church last saw any significant development in the 1920’s and the building is becoming increasingly inadequate for the needs of today.
The church has no permanent heating so expensive electric bar heaters and portable gas heaters are used, however the lack of central heating means the premises are continuously damp in the winter. The vestry and kitchen are poorly constructed and in a very sorry state of decoration. The outside toilet facilities were added to the church in the early 20th century and are in an extremely poor condition. The majority of the building is not easily accessible for the disabled and in particular there are no disabled toilet facilities. Meanwhile parts of the building are in such a poor condition they have actually become unsafe.
During Junior Church there is inadequate room for the children to split up into separate age groups. There is also a lack of storage in the building for teaching materials, song books, arts and crafts materials, costumes, properties and scenery. For shows and concerts the building is even more inadequate with the audience entering via a torturous route through the vestry and a narrow door. Meanwhile there are no changing facilities for the cast and currently we rely on using a neighbouring property.
Pictures showing the need for redevelopment - from left to right: the outdated kitchen, lack of storage space and outside toilets.
We plan to demolish the vestry, kitchen and toilets and replace them with a new two storey building. The lower floor will provide kitchen facilities, increased storage space and male, female and disabled toilets. The upper floor will consist of two meeting rooms separated by a partition wall to allow them to be used as one large room.
A new entrance directly from the street will give a more welcoming entrance to the building. Part of the existing schoolroom will be used to create a new foyer area.
The church itself will be adapted into a multi purpose hall, with permanent staging and improved facilities for shows and concerts whilst remaining suitable for our services.
This project will give us the space and facilities we need to continue and to develop the work we do with young people in Bladon and surrounding villages.
A more flexible worship space would also enable us to more readily facilitate alternative and more creative forms of worship in order to provide new opportunities for people in the village to meet with God.
The project will also vastly improve our facilities for putting on our regular shows and concerts. These events remain a vital part of our outreach in that it is through such events that many of our young people first encounter the Junior Church and are brought into its fellowship. In addition, such shows and concerts are also one way in which we reach out to the community at large, bringing fun and enjoyment to many, as well as raising money for all sorts of good causes.
Improved storage facilities will mean our large amount of teaching materials, theatrical costumes, props and technical equipment can be stored safely and securely in one place. In addition, this will help with the loaning of items to other schools and youth groups, something that we do on a regular basis, as we will know exactly what we have and where it will be. It will also mean we can have all our teaching resources easily available.
Development of the Methodist Church would also provide vital community facilities that would benefit all sections of the village. The building is already occasionally used by local organizations. Proper kitchen facilities and toilets will allow us to encourage use of the church by local groups. The potential of the Methodist Church as a community facility, particularly with its central position in the village, remains and exciting opportunity.
Financing the Project
We have had the project professionally costed and the total cost is estimated to be nearly £360,000. The Junior Church has foreseen the necessity of this project for many years and has put funds aside each year to help finance the work. In addition, we have been undergoing an intensive period of fund-raising with a rolling programme of events over the last few years. We have already raised many thousands of pounds and we expect this figure to continue to increase during the rest of the year and into 2016. The Methodist Church has also pledged substantial funds for the project, both locally from the Oxford Methodist Circuit as well as from the Methodist Church nationally. We have also been applying to a number of charitable and grant making bodies to assist in the funding of this project.
For further information about this exciting project you can download a full copy of the business plan below. This includes much more detail about the project and how it will help the work of the church and the benefit the community. The business plan also includes the results of a village survey, floor plans for the new building and letters of support from local organisations.