Published by Tim Cockell on Mon, 13 Mar 2017 08:45

You will no doubt be aware that for some time now
we have been working towards providing extra space within
the fabric of the building for both community and church use.

Over many years and through many different iterations it was thought
that the most viable option for this was to build a Mezzanine Floor in the North Aisle.
After initial objections from the Victorian Society we were given
permission to do this by the Diocesan Chancellor and fund-raising began.
In 2013 the heating system in church failed us and
a significant proportion of the funds that remained from the sale of Church House had
to be used for the installation of a new heating system.

In the intervening period from then until now building costs
have risen significantly and whilst in 2013 raising a further £70,000 seemed
possible, the requirement by the end of 2015 was over £220,000.
The Property Strategy Group set about trying to find other avenues
for funding, principally from Grant Making Trusts to see if this shortfall could
be raised. To date this has brought in just a few thousand pounds,
and nothing like what is needed. The reason for this is that Bilton scores very highly on
the measures of social deprivation indices, being
in the top 10% of least deprived areas in the country. This means that bodies making

grants are very unlikely to earmark large sums to a project that will benefit
those who are already “well off.” Couple that with the fact that in the time we have
been doing this two new community centres have been built in Dunchurch and Cawston and schools are now required to offer their facilities for community use, the “external use” part of our project is much less needed.

After having been in existence for some 12 years and after many hundreds
of hours of work the Property Strategy Group has now, somewhat reluctantly, advised
the PCC that the project should be shelved. This was duly agreed at
the PCC meeting on 9th March.
Over the time of this project many members of St Mark’s gave significant sums to see it to fruition. These will now be contacted to see what they would like to do with
their generous donations. Whilst the Property Strategy Group has come to end, it’s
important that due recognition is given to what this committee has achieved in its
time. Some 20 people have served on this group and because of their hard work and dedication two very significant projects were completed - the refurbishment of Church Centre and most notably the Servery and North Porch extension to Church, which have both made a huge and
positive difference to the usability of our buildings. Having learned much along
the way, some of the members of the PSG are now keen to explore further some of the positive social aspects that came from organising fund-raising events.

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