09:00AM, Friday 12 July 2019
A methodist church which plays a vital role for community groups in the area is on course to enhance its facilities – with a little help from the Advertiser’s owner.
St. Mark’s Crescent Methodist Church, in Allenby Road, is nearing the end of its ‘2020Vision’ project, which will see a new welcome area, kitchen and toilets, and an enlarged meeting room at the rear of the building.
The church set out six years ago to build better spaces for the community by 2020 and has been busy fundraising for the project to become a reality.
With the scheme costing about £551,000, the church – which recieves no government funding – has had to rely on the generosity of various fundraising events and grant-giving bodies such as the Louis Baylis Trust to help it reach its goal.
Community groups which use the church premises include Birdwood Nursery School in Maidenhead – which has been a resident there for more than 50 years - and the Girl Guides.
In partnership with Age Concern Slough and Berkshire East, the church runs a Thursday lunch club for older adults.
The church also offers dance, pilates and yoga opportunities and is a popular children’s party venue.
Building work has been going on since April, with the whole project on track to be completed by October – just in time for 2020.
During works, the church and hall remains open for Sunday worship including Messy Church and regular users, but there is no car parking.
Fundraising co-ordinator Eileen Chislett said: “We said: what can we actually do to make everything better – to enhance the building, make it more accessible for users?
“We do not get any [money] from the government, we are not a listed building. All the money has been raised by generous individuals and fundraising projects.
“It is lovely to have the support of our local paper – we have had great support from [The Advertiser] and we are really happy about that.
“It is not easy to raise the money.”
She added: “This is our real opportunity to do something positive for the local community. We believe we are doing the right thing and we believe God is in it.
“We are just thrilled and can’t wait for it all to be done and for us to go in and say: look at this – and make really good use of it.”
As well as the Louis Baylis Trust, other bodies to help out with renovations include grants from Methodist sources, The Allchurches Trust, Beatrice Laing Trust, Garfield Weston Charitable Foundation, Persimmons Homes, Prince Philip Trust, and The Shanly Foundation.
Fundraising events have involved quizzes, concerts, barn dances, and the church’s popular monthly ‘bazaars’.
There will be displays at Windsor Racecourse and Legoland, local fireworks in Burnham and Twyford and smaller displays at schools in the Royal Borough.