05:51PM, Wednesday 24 November 2021
A project to enhance the facilities at a Maidenhead methodist church has been completed after years of fundraising and building work.
St Mark’s Crescent, based in Allenby Road, set out several years ago to build better spaces by 2020 through an initiative dubbed ‘2020Vision’.
Among the improvements planned were a new welcome area, kitchen and toilets, and an enlarged meeting room at the rear of the building.
Building work has been going on since April 2019, with the whole project originally hoped to be completed in time for 2020.
This milestone was reached – with the church being given the keys in November 2019 – but the pandemic hit soon after and much of the new facilities could not be used.
Now, as restrictions have eased, St Mark’s is able to welcome individuals and community groups back to make use of the new spaces, and marked the completion of works on Saturday with a visit from Maidenhead MP Theresa May and Royal Borough mayor, Cllr John Story.
With the scheme costing about £600,000, the church – which recieves no Government funding – has had to rely on various fundraising events and grant-giving bodies to reach its goal.
Fundraising co-ordinator Eileen Chislett said that it is pleasing to see community groups using the updated church premises, include Birdwood Nursery School and the Girl Guides.
The building also has dance, pilates and yoga opportunities, and the church also hosts a coffee morning for seniors.
Eileen (pictured below in the new kitchen) added that the church itself and the associated hall have not been affected by the improvement works.
“We planned to have this event [with Mrs May] in March 2020, but that did not happen. So this was a postponed event,” she said.
“The building is essentially complete, but we still need to carry on fundraising, because of some loans to pay off. But the church is fully open, and we are able to do things in it.
“It is fabulous. Everyone who comes in says it is really nice, a warm and welcome space. Much more suitable for the 21st century.”
Eileen added: “We are thrilled with it. It was a lot of hard work, but the builders did a really good job and it is just lovely.
“We have quite a few groups already there and have had one or two new ones coming in.
“It is pretty well used, and increasingly so. We went for it [the project] and we have been rewarded handsomely.”
There will be displays at Windsor Racecourse and Legoland, local fireworks in Burnham and Twyford and smaller displays at schools in the Royal Borough.