After the morning meeting on Sunday 11 March, there was a presentation of the plans for the new build and arrangements for Corps activities whilst the building works are taking place. Here is a report based on notes taken at the time. Adrian Horwood has been leading the group organising and planning this. He said that he has been involved in planning for improvements in the building for seventeen years. This is a huge undertaking and plans have been made and changed but he is pleased to tell us that they are now fixed. He introduced Ian Minter, Architect, to give us an idea of the timeline, Tracy Wood to state the impact on YP activities, Tim Scott to outline the impact on the Senior Corps, Sam Wood to give details of the Celebration of 100 years YP work, Andrew Pennington to give financial impact and Major Alec Still to finalise plans for while we’re out of the building.
Adrian showed pictures of what the hall looks like now and what it will look like. He explained that the builders will be digging down about four feet so the fire exit will be below ground level. The hall on the ground floor will be called the Bradbury Room, after the charity which has given us a large donation, and the upstairs hall will be called the Gowans Room. There will be two extra sets of stairs, one to the right of the main entrance leading up to the gallery and rooms upstairs and the other at the back. He explained that we cannot take away the middle stairs as the rear wall is a fire restricting wall. There will be improvements to the lighting in the main hall. The right door of the platform will be closed off and the door into the main hall from the corridor will be lowered so that there will be just two steps down. The plans will be left on display in the foyer but are able to viewed here. The plan for the kitchen has been updated but is not available to the website at present.
Ian Minter explained that the the disabled toilet on the ground floor contains a shower and is for multi-use. It will enable us to cater for the homeless who need washing facilities and for nursery children. It was expressed to him that the new build needed to make people aware that the Salvation Army is here and be welcoming. The new design gives out the message that the Salvation Army church is here and the glass frontage will be welcoming as people will see what is happening inside. In two week’s time the plans will go out to tender, a contractor will be appointed who will take three weeks to get organised and start work in mid-June.
Tracy spoke about the impact on coming back. The Bradbury Room will be used for activities and will have a hardwearing floor for messy activities. The Gowans Room will have the prayer bench installed, multi-media facilities and be an area for worship and teaching. She gave details of which children’s and youth activities would use which room and this is set out in a matrix on display in the foyer.
Before we move out there is to be a big clear out. Owners of stuff need to be identified and need to decide what is to be kept – accessible or inaccessible. The thought is that if you don’t need it for nine months, do you need it! (Val Smith has offered to sell unwanted small items at Boot Fairs to raised funds.)
Tim said that all groups have tried to be accommodated. 20th May is the last day in the hall. The last day to access the hall is 25 May after which the locks will be changed. There will be a need for some long term storage and the are looking at sourcing this. Emmaus has some rooms for storage. The Sunday arrangements have still not been finalised but midweek activities will take place at Emmaus. He said it will be quite fraught at times but we need to look out for our friends. People in sections and groups will be OK but he asked that we keep a look out for those who come to meetings but are unattached and let someone know so that we can make contact.
We are looking at being out of the hall for 9 months so we have no fixed date yet for return. It is planned to have a grand re-opening in May 2013 which coincides with the 140th Anniversary of the Corps.
Andrew gave a presentation which indicated that the Corps income has increased through Gift Aid and Give to Grow which enabled the build to happen. The new build is being funded through partnerships. It will cost £1,079 covered by Legacies: £211k; Corps Reserves £169k (includes costs to hire rooms and storage); DHQ support £150k; Bradbury Trust £320k and bank borrowing £229k with repayments of £1300 per month. More programmes will be carried out when we move back in will cost money and the additional bank repayment costs will be extra so he encouraged everyone to Gift Aid their giving.
Sam said that the last week-end of 19/20 May is to be a celebration of the YP work and the Fellowship Group has been charged with organizing this. They want as many people as possible who used to be in the YP Corps to come and stay for the week-end. On the Saturday there will be a High Tea and a Memory Time, to take place in the YP Hall but may overflow into the main hall. The Theme will be The Past, the Present and the Future. The Sunday morning will be a Family Service with the theme of ‘the Future’. On Sunday afternoon will be a YP Spectacular ‘the Present’. We are asked to contact people to contribute photos and videos for a timeline. A Memory Box will be placed at the back of the hall to put in written memories. All are invited to take part but some chosen ones will be invited to share their memories on the Saturday evening.
Major Alec thanked all who are part of the planning process. It will be quite a daunting period in between moving out and moving in but he has experienced this five times and has found it exciting and a time for growth. The vast majority of the programme will be moved to Emmaus but may need tweaking. For Sundays, the arrangements are still to be confirmed as they are still exploring other venues. We will be notified when these are finalised. The Coming Back and 140th Corps Anniversary is to be something special as we are one of the oldest Corps in the world. We will hold a big event in May to celebrate even though we hope to have moved in before that. An application has been made to a significant Salvation Army International figure to come for this event but we haven’t received a response yet.
There were a few questions re. naming of the upstairs small rooms, security issues and flat roofs, possibility of washing machine and tumble dryer being installed and the commemorative stones being incorporated somewhere in the new build.