What have we done and why?
1. REPAIR THE FABRIC OF THE BUILDINGS
There is no doubt that St James’ Church buildings - both the Church and the Church Hall - are already much-loved and well-used. The first, urgent requirement was to deal with the structural weaknesses in the two buildings, and then the redevelopment of the Church building could proceed as the 2nd phase of the project.
2. REDEVELOP THE CHURCH
There was a growing awareness that the spiritual and secular life of any community is more closely linked now than ever before, and that St James’ Church building has unexplored potential as a space for both traditional purposes and exciting new ventures. After securing the structure we adjusted the church building so that whilst it continues to be a place of worship it also enables us to take part in Woolton's 21st century village life as a:
- a comfortable place where village business people can take lunch and enjoy a time of quiet reflection
- a child-friendly place where pre-school and school age children can hold special events when their usual venues have limited capacity
- an inspiring spiritual space for our uniformed organisations to carry out appropriate parts of their programmes
- a flexible space for initiatives in our Mission Priorities (e.g. Messy Church and Café Church).
As mentioned above, the style and layout of our Church building was not able to accommodate all this in a practicable manner and so modifications were required:
- Exterior: Replace a section of the boundary wall with a gate, to improve street level access for people with limited mobility, wheelchairs, prams etc.
- Interior: Improve the entrance area to the Church to increase access and visibility; Create a common floor level throughout the building; Replace the pews with more flexible and comfortable seating; Install environmentally-friendly heating and lighting; Upgrade the audio-visual resources; Provide a space to prepare refreshments; Provide additional toilet facilities and improve the existing ones; Redevelop and redecorate the building throughout.