STATION HILL BAPTIST CHURCH, CHIPPENHAM
"Our church building and hall date from the 1850's but had been constraining our church and community activities significantly more recently. We lacked space, modern catering and toilet facilities and access for the disabled was restricted to the ground floor through an awkward rear entrance. Our few small meeting rooms could not accommodate our children’s groups on Sunday: we had to walk them 150 yards down a busy road to use the local Methodist church's halls.
An architect was instructed to draw up plans for the internal redevelopment and outline listed building planning permission was secured in 2016. Fundraising and more detailed project planning also commenced.
The total project cost was £725,000. Much of the funding came from the church members themselves with donations and loans. Grants were received from Allchurches Trust, Chippenham Borough Lands Charity, Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust, Garfield Weston Trust, Norwood and Newton Foundation, Beatrice Laing Foundation and the Listed Places of Worship Scheme of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. We had the all-important help of Baptist Building CIO who loaned £180,000. We are very grateful to all these individuals and organisations, without whom the refurbishment and improvements would not have taken place. We give glory to God for enabling all this to succeed."
"As a result of all this work we now have:
A more welcoming and appropriate front ramp entrance instead of steep steps to the church for all, assisting those with walking difficulties as well as giving access to wheelchairs, prams, pushchairs etc.
An increased number of toilets, including our first one upstairs and upgrading of the disabled toilet with wet room facilities allowing homeless people to take showers. All toilets now have fold down changing tables to help those with young children too. A new central heating boiler accessed from an outside boiler room with zoned heating controls for the church and halls.
Modern kitchen facilities including contemporary equipment for catering e.g. cookers and dishwashers and improved layout for storage, a walk-in cupboard, food preparation and serving hatch to the adjacent new cafe style seating area with under floor heating.
Re-modelling the layout of the rooms throughout the building allows us flexible meeting spaces over three floors for senior folk, children, youth groups and community groups. These underpin the work of our Prayer Café, Lunchtime Fellowship, Eden Academy (Sunday School), Urban Saints youth group, Mother and Toddler groups and all other church and community groups on Sundays and mid-week, giving them space to grow their outreach and community service. The Eden Academy and our youth work can all now take place in our own building, providing for more integrated family worship and teaching, improved safeguarding conditions, and growing numbers.
The abutting outside walls at the back of the church have been extended upwards to the first floor, allowing much improved access via a new, realigned staircase and a lift so now everyone is able to participate in prayer meetings and other activities upstairs. A second-floor loft conversion has created a brand new "youth den" but is also available for quieter contemplation."