A massive £1 million fund-raising campaign is to be launched to make extensive improvements and upgrade accessibility to St Mary with St Alban Parish Church in Teddington, we can reveal.
The development project called Building Anew is set to go ahead following planning permission from Richmond Council and will include a new Garden Room with large windows, kitchen facilities, toilets, a new digital organ and will be launched this Sunday (July 23) by the Venerable Richard Frank, Archdeacon of Middlesex to upgrade the historic church ‘with much needed community facilities fit for purpose and for the future.”
The major scheme, which will cost £1.2 million, is outlined in a newsletter bulletin from Assistant Priest Rev Mary Hawes. It says: “We are years into the planning, to improve accessibility and provide much needed modern facilities, meeting room, toilets to our historic parish church without losing its charm and all we hold dear. This is an exciting opportunity to build on what we have, to provide these enhancements for now and for the future, please come and support us.”
The scheme has been designed to preserve the significant historic features of church, while adding a sympathetic, step-free extension on the north side of the church in place of the existing choir vestry.
This extension contains: a multi-purpose gathering/meeting space with an integrated kitchenette – the ‘Garden Room’ – with large glass windows, an integrated contemporary glass artwork and direct access to the churchyard on the south side; a connection between the north aisle of the church and the Garden Room via a ‘pentice’, consisting of a glass-walled passageway and fully accessible toilets.
The scheme also includes re-ordering the northeast corner of the church to make more efficient use of the existing footprint, which will minimise the size of the extension needed and the building costs.
The document adds: “To achieve this well, we need the facilities to support good, lengthy connection time: a kitchenette to serve drinks from, a space to meet and chat and, not least, some toilets.
“Building Anew is about making our contribution to the 800-year history of our church which has been added to every century.
“Every generation has done their bit to ensure the building is fit for purpose for their own particular time. We feel strongly that our task is to build an extension that will enable the whole church, both the building and the people, to bring faith and friendship to all.
“These plans are the culmination of a long process of discernment, research, planning and consultation. The scheme we have developed not only meets our needs but enhances our historic building and the way it relates to the beautiful churchyard around it.
“The positive feedback received during our consultation processes has been extremely welcome and encouraging, including from Historic England, the Diocese of London, The Teddington Society and our local community.
“We are now excited to be beginning the next phase of the project, which will include preparing the detailed design and launching a fund-raising campaign, with the aim of beginning construction in 2024.
The Rev Hawes added: “I believe this development will be truly transformational, not just for our building and the facilities we can offer to our local community, but also for the way we connect with one another. Building Anew is about making the most of our lovely building and creating a new space where we can come together and build relationships.”
The pipe organ will be replaced with a new state-of-the-art digital organ.
Experts have confirmed that the current pipe organ is of no historical significance and not a high-quality instrument. A new digital organ with 20 drawstops will improve the sound quality as well as free up the space currently occupied by the pipes and bellows.
The fund-raising begins tomorrow (sunday) with the hope that building will start in 2024.
If you would like to get involved in the fundraising campaign or communications team in any capacity please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact a member of the clergy or Parish Office on 020 8943 2262.
If you would like to make a donation, please click here.
Rev Hawes said: “We very much hope you will support this project, which represents an exciting opportunity to make this beautiful church truly welcoming for all in our community.”