On Wednesday 10th March 2021 we held an Open Meeting on Zoom for people to attend, where we discussed our vision, provided a bit of a background to how we have arrived at this position and get an indication of community interest.
Firstly thanks again to all those that attended the meeting. It has been pleasing and reassuring to see the amount of interest generated on our Facebook Page, as well as the number of people who expressed an interest and attended the meeting.
For those who weren’t able to attend, we have highlighted briefly some points raised and our responses to them.
The main focus at the moment is to establish who is actively interested in our aim of saving the Former Baptist Chapel and using the space for the whole community and safeguard it for future generations.
If you are supportive, it’s really important you let us know (if you have not already done so, please register your interest by completing this form).
The minimum donation on the GoFundMe page is £5 and whilst this might not ‘buy’ us much, the more people we have donating here, the better we can demonstrate the community support for the project, which in turn can positively influence decisions of Grant Providers and Sponsors for example. However please support the campaign with as much as you can afford to give.
We will of course continue to keep you informed of developments and tell you how you can help.
The following points were raised at the meeting and / or we feel important to keep in mind:
The current Trustees (The Buckley family) have expressed support for our aims but are required by the Charity Commission to sell the site – Previous efforts to transfer the property to a new group for use by the Community were not allowed.
The property is on the open market and we have no idea who else is interested but it could end up as as a single or a number of private dwellings If we are unsuccessful. This puts pressure on the Group to raise a potential purchase price of £100,000 plus and any cost for urgent repairs in a short period of time.
This is the last chance for the village to safeguard this Grade 2 listed building that has been part of the village since 1840 when it was built from money given by the community. The site also has graves in situ that should be treated with compassion.
We have broad support from the local councillors. We have to recognise that their support will not extend to substantial financial support.
Many people raised the reason why we need two spaces bearing in mind the existence of the Darby and Joan Club. There are two issues here. One is the safeguarding of the Chapel for its own sake but also reflects the aim of making a building and space that could be owned and used by and for the whole community. Thus whilst space would be hired for various clubs or sport, or keep fit groups it could also be a space for locals to use and meet, have a picnic or for simple quiet reflection. Members of the community would not be excluded. There are so many potential uses but this will be driven by what you want it to be used for.
One of the main concerns was how the project could be managed and financed. Some will have concerns that money subscribed could be misused or lost and we recognise that this is something that requires careful consideration.
Initially costs incurred are being financed personally by the current committee or from money previously given when the URC church was available. You will appreciate that some money is needed for us to make any progress but we undertake to make those details publicly available. Unless substantial sums are received via the GoFundMe page some of that money will be used to put together bids and grant applications or to cover legal fees.
However the estimated cost initially that needs to be covered is estimated at around £250,000. It may not be necessary to raise this all at once but the project does need a substantial amount to ensure success and a number of options are being looked at. This will include grants as well as semi commercial loans if this allows us to raise the initial sum in the time scale available. Keeping loans to a minimum clearly is beneficial as it reduces ongoing running finance costs and any loans need to be viable.
We will also be looking at crowdfunding where appropriate as well as subscriptions and sponsorships from inhabitants and local businesses large and small. If you have any contacts or suggestions please let us know as soon as possible.
We undertake to ensure that any sums received and not used will be returned to the relevant parties.
All those currently involved are locals and committed to an ethical and transparent project which will be open to independent scrutiny at any time.
If you would like to take an active part in making this happen please click here and complete this form.
By no means will this bind you to anything, but enables us to measure the skills and potential contributions and participation from people of our village and surrounding areas.
And don’t forget to share share share with your neighbours, friends and other people around the village.