Work on transforming the former Church of St Peter’s in Ufton Nervet, near Reading, into a vibrant community centre, is edging closer as fundraisers make a final push to secure the money needed to complete the project.
So far, the team has raised over £320,000 which has been spent on renovating the neglected building, including repairs to the roof, installing underfloor heating and restoring the impressive stained glass windows.
Now known as The Spire, a further £70,000 is needed to finish the work and £30,000 to fully fit out the building, so that it can become a fully-fledged venue for concerts, meetings, exhibitions and other activities.
Grundon Waste Management, which has a depot in nearby Beenham, has shown its support with a grant for a £10,150 from the Landfill Communities Fund, with the money spent on resurfacing the entrance path, providing disabled access and lighting.
Anthony Foxlee-Brown, Grundon’s marketing and communications manager, marketing assistant Kirsti Santer, and Ben Cuthbertson, waste management sales, recently joined Peter Newall, chairman of the St Peter’s Ufton Charitable Trust, for a guided tour.
“The project is very impressive and when it’s finished it will clearly play a great role as somewhere for the whole of the community to come together, as well as hopefully attract other visitors from further afield,” said Anthony.
“The work of the fundraisers has to be commended and it’s wonderful to see a building which was no longer wanted transformed into such an exciting facility for everyone in the community to enjoy. We’re delighted to have been able to play our own small part in helping to make their plans come to fruition.”
After the church was made redundant in the early 1990s, the building was left derelict and decaying until 2002, when local residents got behind a plan to develop it as a community centre and formed the charitable trust.
After a lengthy delay in obtaining the freehold on the building, work finally began on the Grade II listed building in March 2014.
“It has been a long journey but it is going to be absolutely magic when it is finished,” said Peter. “Every penny that has been spent has come from fundraising and benefactors such as Grundon and we are incredibly grateful for the leap of faith they have shown in supporting the project.”
Once completed, the centre will be able to seat at least 75 people and Peter plans a series of concerts, tea dances, talks, exhibitions and classes, as well as opening the venue for private and corporate bookings.
Grundon funding for the project was provided through community charity Groundwork South, which works closely with the charitable trust.
Pictured are: Ben Cuthbertson and Anthony Foxlee-Brown from Grundon, Mark Franklin, electrician; Peter Newall, trust chairman; Michael Bartoletti from main contractor, J G Restorations; Simon Lindley, trustee; and Kirsti Santer, from Grundon. Photo: Tobi Corney PhotographyBack to news