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Developing Bewdley Church as a Community Hub

Published: 2nd May 2024

St Anne's Church in BewdleySt Anne’s Church in Bewdley is situated right at the heart of the town. The PCC has embarked on a major refurbishment and reordering project to help the building become more of a community hub as well as a place of worship.

Back in 2020, the PCC started a community consultation as to how the church building could serve the town more effectively. This resulted in a project to ensure the exterior of the building was repaired and watertight and then transform the interior of the church as a multi-purpose community space.

Churchwarden, Paul Warnett said: “When we asked the local community, their main request was for us to repair and restore the exterior of our church. The stonework hasn’t been properly cleaned since the church was built in 1745 and is significantly discoloured from traffic and other industrial pollution. Some of the stonework is also damaged and is letting water inside the church. Responding to the request to improve the outside was the starting point for our project which will also ensure the interior is fit for purpose.”

The parish have received £167k funding from the UK Government through the UK shared Prosperity Fund from Wyre Forest District Council, as well as other funding to enable them to repair the exterior stonework and to engage an Architect to conduct a feasibility study and recommend any internal changes.

Robert Smith is part of the parish Property Group leading on the project. He said: “We will be giving the Architect quite a broad brief, but our overall vision is for St Anne’s to be a welcoming, warm space which can be used for a variety of purposes. We expect that, subject to obtaining a faculty, this will involve reimagining the interior layout of the church while ensuring that it remains a sacred space for worship.”

The church currently has a small narthex area which is used as a Warm Space and to host community lunches. There are also concerts occasionally held in church and the church would like to be able to do more of this.

Robert continues: “Our church is so central in Bewdley and could be used much more throughout the week if the inside was redesigned. This could mean parent and toddler groups, more concerts, or a whole range of other activities as long as they are compatible with being in a place of worship.”

The church has already held three public consultations about their plans and received a very positive response. They will be talking to the community further once they have received plans from the architect.

“We would like to find out what the community wants and needs and essentially offer the building to them. For example, there isn’t currently a bank in Bewdley, so perhaps we could open a Community Bank. It is a real opportunity to engage with a wider cross section of people across our town and share the love of Jesus with them,” said Paul.

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Page last updated: Thursday 2nd May 2024 2:41 PM

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