"This is the third church building on this site in Dunchurch, Warwickshire. The second one was a prefabricated building opened in 1971 and extended several times (also with the help of loans from the Baptist Building Fund). Initially we had thought about just replacing the oldest part of that building which was too small for our Sunday morning congregation and proving more and more difficult to maintain having gone well past it’s expected ‘use by date’."
"A Building Fund was officially launched in December 2013. Our fundraising target was set at £800,000 based on initial estimates for a completely new building - that first design did not receive planning permission. The final design (CPL architects) had a smaller footprint, very flexible downstairs space, more room upstairs and more carparking spaces and received planning approval on 9th Jan 2018.
Having decided we did not want to spend any more money repairing the old building, alternative temporary accommodation was needed. We were delighted that we were able to join with the village Methodist Church congregation, and this was to be our temporary home for nearly 3.5 years."
"We held our final services in the old building on 23rd Sept 2018. While fundraising activities, Gift Days & grant applications continued, the old building was demolished and building officially started on 29th July 2019.
By May 2020 we had a watertight shell and the ‘welcome’ sign was up but now we had to turn it into a useable building, this next phase being managed by key members of our own building committee. With COVID 19 lockdowns/restrictions, we were not able to go ahead with some of our planned fundraising events and to complete our building we turned again to the Baptist Building Fund, now Baptist Building CIO, for help. We had pledged giving that enabled us to apply for a £250,000 loan which we received, put to good use and have already started to repay."
"We were finally able to hold our first morning service in the new building on Sunday 6th Feb 2022 with the upstairs rooms in use by the time of the official opening on 12th March."
Upstairs there are 4 rooms, 2 further toilets (one ‘accessible’, one with a shower) and a breakout area - with kitchenette coming soon!. The large front room has a T-loop, the ‘balcony room’ overlooks the worship area & once we get the ‘tech’ installed we will have an audio feed from the main worship area so that those using this room as a creche can still be a part of the services. All 4 rooms have large walk-in storage cupboards!
We still have a few things to finish off but the building is already being well used by ourselves on a Sunday with the Sunday School groups meeting upstairs. Our parent/toddler group runs 2 sessions a week with numbers attending having increased significantly since we moved into the new building, and we have added movable screens to divide off the carpeted auditorium from the multipurpose hall and lots of storage for this group.
The last few sessions of a recent Alpha Course have been held here along with Men’s & Ladies Breakfasts.
"A new fortnightly group for 10-14 yr olds is already attracting about 20 youngsters; a monthly ‘Cake and Craft’ group is proving popular with more activities like a community café in the planning stage. We also have several local groups with regular bookings – the largest of the upstairs rooms being particularly popular.
We were particularly keen to make our building as ‘accessible’ as possible so the ground floor is all on one level – our regular congregation includes wheelchairs users, people with balance problems and others with mobility issues. We have a full ‘Changing Places’ set up for those with disabilities and a lift to enable the whole building to be as accessible to as many as possible. The ground floor ladies and gents washrooms both have sinks at 2 heights. T-loops are fitted in the main double-height worship area/auditorium and the largest of the upstairs rooms. There is a ramp up to the dais at the front of the worship space. Our new carpark with permeable tarmac (and extra drainage underneath) means we no longer have uneven surfaces, huge puddles/muddy mess every time it rains.
Since moving in we have seen quite a few new people joining us on a Sunday morning and others returning having been part of our online congregation for the last couple of years. Our Easter Sunday evening service included the baptism of two of our young adults.
The ground floor space is very flexible with movable partitions. We currently have the partition between the double height auditorium and the multipurpose hall/lounge folded away on a Sunday morning enabling us to have plenty of space with good ventilation so even those who have been particularly nervous about returning to in-person services have been able to come along."
There are two other carpeted rooms – a general purpose meeting room/office and a smaller one designated as a ‘quiet room’. The kitchen is fitted out with catering standard equipment including a dishwasher and has 2 serving hatches that open up onto the multipurpose hall.
There is a lot of new housing due to be built over the next few years to the South West of Rugby – the local plan includes about 5000 new homes within a couple of miles of our new building so we are expecting it will be well used by ourselves and the local community for many years to come.
We are very grateful to Baptist Building CIO for their help which was available just when we needed it providing us with a significant amount towards the final cost of the building which will be about £1,500,000.