Christ Church was built in 1887 and incorporates a worship area, a transept for smaller meetings and a weekly Drop-in, a community hall and various activity rooms. We are situated on the edge of the town, at the point where a residential community begins. A number of years ago, the building had a 'loop' system fitted, a ramp access to the church hall, and a disabled toilet facility in the Ladies WC.
Following an inspection with our architect (Clifford Patten of Lewis Patten Chartered Architects, Hertford) the church identified what work needed to be done to make the building much more 'user friendly' for the disabled as well as parents with toddlers. This included: ramp access to the church and improved fire exits; an enlarged reception area to accommodate necessary changes; replacement doors; an additional toilet for the disabled incorporating baby changing facilities (our present disabled toilet is now deemed too small); the removal of a number of side pews to accommodate wheelchairs; the provision of a hatch in the kitchen to comply with Health & Safety / Hygiene requirements, and the renewal of our Sound System.
Despite its own difficult financial position Christ Church nevertheless made a commitment to the above work. This is not only to comply with legislation, but also because many members, visitors and users were being disadvantaged because of the lack of appropriate facilities. We currently offer a variety of activities for both church and community purposes throughout the week. We believed the adaptation will increase the use of the building once it is more accessible.
Christ Church launched an Appeal in April 2001, and sought ways to raise funds through local initiatives as well as through sympathetic Trust Funds. Within nine months nearly £70,000 was raised, enabling the work to be complete by the early summer of 2002. We immediately recognised the benefits of the adaptations to the premises, and are extremely grateful to individuals and organisations that have generously supported us in this venture.
While this above was progressing, a number of church members, along with support from Barclays Bank PLC through their Pound for Pound Initiative, targeted the main community hall, and within a few months completely repainted the walls, and hung new curtains. The inner door was remodelled with clear plastic, so that the hall (and in particular the cross on the far wall) was visible from outside. This again has vastly improved this part of our building.
Encouraged by what we had already achieved, and following the generous legacy of one of our late members, Mrs. Ivy Balchin, the Church Meeting approved the refurbishment of the Transept, which is the room adjacent to the worship area. It is a room that is used for fellowship and social meetings, but with the changes will be available for small worship groups. The scheme includes the repainting and recarpetting of the area, a loop & sound system, the provision of new cupboards, windows to the church and the installation of emergency lighting. The total cost of the scheme is around £22,000, and with the help of a grant from the Synod, work commenced at the beginning of April. This part of our refurbishment should be completed by the end of May 2003.
We are currently concentrating on finding the final element of funding for the above work, which needs to be found this summer. It is our intention to then turn our attention to the kitchen area to ensure this is adequate for current and future needs. If you would like further information on the church or this Refurbishment Project, or feel you can help in any way to realise our vision of making our premises 'user friendly', please contact the minister, Rev'd Chris Wood (01255) 224598.
CHRIST CHURCH REFURBISHMENT PHASE III - KITCHEN FACILITY
Much has happened to our premises since in the launch of our Refurbishment Project in 2001. We completed Phase I (access and disabled toilet facility) and more recently Phase II (included the refurbishment of the Transept, and improved fire exit from the hall with the disabled in mind). Added to this, we have completed further work on the main community hall (repainted, new curtains and resealed the floor) and created a central office within the building.
The building has taken on a new lease of life, not only for the benefit of the church and its many organisations, but has seen a dramatic increase in use by community groups. In all, over £100,000 has been spent on making our premises more user-friendly for church and community groups. New community groups that have been introduced over the last two years include indoor bowls, the University of the Third Age; Educational Classes (First Aid; Assertiveness; Dancing; Foreign Students etc); Tendring Talking Times and Church Retreat Groups.
The Church Meeting has recently decided to target the hall toilets and kitchen under Phase III of the Refurbishment Project, knowing that these have fallen below the standard required for the use now offered. When completed, this would provide a much better facility for all church groups and users. The toilet facility just off the hall would be modernised with improved facilities for all our users but with a particular emphasis on the disabled & Parents with babies / toddlers. The plans for the kitchen include replacing the current work surface & cupboards, the provision of a hand-washing facility and creation of a larger hatch to the hall similar to that provided for the Transept, an additional oven to increase our catering capacity for church events as well for the Summer Camps that are held on the premises.
The total budget cost of this phase is estimated at £43,000 being £17,000 (toilet) and £26,000 (kitchen). The latter is quite high because it is necessary to remove a chimney breast to increase the available space in the kitchen and allow for the new hatch to the hall, plus resultant repair work to the kitchen roof and new skylight. Already approximately £34,000 has been raised and donated by members and friends, who have recognised the achievements to date, and want to offer their own support and encouragement to this valuable and necessary Phase of the Project. Recently, the church has hosted a 24 hour Sponsored Scalextric Event, being run by the owner of the Clacton Model Shop in gratitude for a family wedding last year! The profits from the event will be kindly donated specifically to the toilet refurbishment project.
The builder has been given the following guidelines: To remove the cupboards at the hall end of the kitchen; Remove the chimney breast; Place a larger hatch to serve the hall and brick up the smaller hatch; Provide appropriate work surfaces and cupboards around most of the kitchen; Provide two main sinks and a small basin for the washing of hands; Increase the number of ovens to two; Provide appropriate equipment for the efficient running of the kitchen (microwave); Consider an alternative skylight. Provide some form of extractor fan or fans Replace existing door with solid fire-proof door Provide non-slip floor covering to kitchen and passageway; Offer better heating and lighting within kitchen
As we are currently about £9000 short of our target figure, the Church is seeking external funding and we are hopeful that the work can commence in the late Summer / early Autumn 2005
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