The church hall has recently been renovated and painted on the outside - details of the process can be found below.
NOW - significant funds have to be found to provide a safe disabled access ramp without the building sliding down the slope and major improvements to the interior. Considerable progress has already been made but more funds are needed and fundraising events are planned.
Scroll down for further information.
Download the information brochure here.
St. John the Baptist (PCC) is bidding to bag a massive cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative. Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local community projects. Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant. St. John the Baptist (PCC) is one of the groups on the shortlist. Click for full details
Visit these Tesco stores to vote for the Village Hall
Chester CH1 3JS
Broughton CH4 0DR
Chester Sealand Rd CH1 4NT
Chester Pepper St Express CH1 1TN
Chester Weston Grove Experss CH2 1QL
Delamere St Chester Express CH1 4DS
The Church Hall is 101 years old this year!
A thorough inspection of the structure proved it to be in very good condition and a major maintenance programme is now virtually complete.
Repairs have been made to the timber frame and the corrugated iron sheeting. The interior has been painted and improved. The whole of the exterior has been painted, and the brick plinth is in the process of being repointed.
The next phase is to improve the building to make it accessible to and usable by everybody in the community and to upgrade the facilities and building to modern standards.
The Improvements will comprise four main elements:
• Access – Step and ramp access for users of all abilities and for pushchairs. Emergency exit moved to new location. All illuminated for safe access and exit in low light conditions.
• Kitchen – Completely new modern kitchen with cooking facilities suitable for use by disabled persons.
• Toilets – One toilet with disabled access and baby changing facilities, re-using the space currently occupied by two separate toilets.
• Windows - New double glazed windows to help improve the insulation and heat conservation.
There is a full display of the improvements hanging in the Church and in the café. Additional pics of the restoration are here
Thanks go to all the volunteers who have helped with the restoration and to Cllrs Margaret and Stuart Parker for dipping into their funds for financial assistance towards the cost of materials.
The final design will look like this:
Why is the fund-raising target for the upgrade so high?
A major objective of the upgrade is to improve access for wheelchair users, parents with pushchairs and others who find stairs difficult. After a detailed option appraisal and taking advice from experts including the CWAC Disability Adviser we concluded that construction of access ramps would be the best solution to achieve our objective. As the Hall is built on a slope and has no foundations (typical of such buildings over 100 years ago ) structural engineers advised that the front of the hall would need to be underpinned to allow construction of the ramps. The ramps would need to be built on robust concrete foundations. This element of the upgrade, construction of an alternative emergency exit route and all demolition works are expected to cost ~£46,000. In addition converting the existing two toilets into a single accessible toilet with baby change facilities will cost ~£8700. Complete refurbishment of the kitchen, making it accessible for wheelchair users and installing some catering facilities and other internal units will cost ~£14,000. Replacement of the existing poor quality single-glazed windows with double-glazed units will cost ~£6500. Fees and miscellaneous expenses will add ~£12,000 and there is an allowance for any contingencies. All aspects of the improvements have been subject to a robust competitive tendering process to ensure value for money
Is there demand to use the Church Hall given that we have the Village Hall?
The Church Hall has been a facility used by the community of Guilden Sutton since it was built in 1914. Since the opening of the excellent Village Hall in 1984 the Church Hall has had a complementary role but is still in demand with a diverse range of regular, occasional and one-off users in recent years. We know that some potential users have been unable to book the Church Hall because of the limited access so expect demand to increase after the upgrade. The Church Hall main room is a good size for small groups (up to 70 can be accommodated) and has excellent natural lighting (now further enhanced by the installation of new windows). It also has an intimate, homely feel which users enjoy. The improved toilet and kitchen facilities, the latter including cooking facilities, will make the hall attractive to additional users.
What activities are suited to the Church Hall?
• Parties for all age groups
• Meetings, clubs, courses
• Physical exercise groups e.g keep fit , yoga, dance, pilates
• Group activites requiring natural light e.g. painting, drawing, art
• Games e.g bridge
Would the money have been better spent on a new hall?
Over many months St John's explored various options including a new build either on the existing site or elsewhere in Guilden Sutton. No suitable alternative site was found so a new build would have had to be located on the existing site. The costs of construction of a new building would be increased by the fact the site is on a slope. Our architect estimated that the cost of a new building of similar size would be £250k approx.
The existing building was subject to a detailed invasive survey which confirmed that its basic structure including the wooden frame of the walls and roof was sound. With our architect and in consultation with various experts, including structural engineers, we were able to develop plans that would achieve our objective of a building better able to serve the local community for decades to come at a cost substantially less than that of a new build. The disruption to our existing users would be far less with a major upgrade than with a new build.
What evidence do you have that local people support your project?
A Consultation conducted by the Church in 2014 indicated support for increased community use of the hall.
The Guilden Sutton Neighbourhood Plan Survey indicated support for refurbishment of, improved access to and enhanced facilities in the Church Hall.
The project has received wide-ranging support, both written and financial, from individuals, community groups and local businesses. A good example is these comments:- "The Church Hall is a hub. Not only does it draw together, through common interest those who live in the village and the surrounding area, it encourages residents to look into their community and it reduces car use and local travel costs especially for the elderly and those with young families."
Our Fund-raising campaign has received strong support from the local community including the Parish Council who have publicised the campaign on the village website.