St Thomas' Church, Stockport becomes a community hub

Published: Monday, April 28, 2014

 

Work on transforming St Thomas’s Church in Stockport into a much needed community hub is progressing fast, with funding part-provided by the National Churches Trust.

In December 2013, the National Churches Trust supported St Thomas' Church in Stockport with a £10,000 Community Grant towards three new lavatories, a kitchen, disabled access and a larger welcome area, to help the church become the community hub that its local people desperately need.

 A building of national importance

St Thomas’ is a stunningly beautiful Grade I listed church, built between 1822 and 1825 in the classical Georgian style. An iconic cultural landmark dear to the hearts of Stockport’s people, it is also recognized as a building of national importance as one of the hundred ‘Waterloo Churches’ whose construction was funded by the British government in thanksgiving for victory over Napoleon. One of the earliest works of architect George Basevi, St Thomas’ his only surviving “Commissioners” church.

Transforming the church

Since its foundation, St Thomas’ has been a popular working church. In recent years however, it has faced serious adversity: indeed, since 2012 it has been on the English Heritage Buildings at Risk register.

In 2013 the Friends of St. Thomas was founded to help secure the church’s future, and as St Thomas’ sits within a very deprived area which suffers from a severe lack of public meeting spaces, the Friends set out to rejuvenate their church by transforming it into a much-needed community hub.

Alison Pollard, Grants and Local Trusts Manager said:

“The National Churches Trust is proud to support this essential project with a £10,000 Community Grant towards installing three new lavatories, a kitchen, disabled access and a larger welcome area.”

“Once the work is complete, St Thomas’ will be able to vastly increase its community use, and it plans to run many fantastic initiatives in partnership with local people; a mums and tots group, an older people's luncheon club, a singing group, a concert programme, Heritage Open Days and school tours – to name just a few! This will be good news for the congregation, the local people and all those with an interest in the history and architecture of this beautiful church.”

Fantastic news

St Thomas’ vicar, Rev. Fr. Andrew Lythall, reports that:

“The work is progressing very nicely; the washrooms are virtually completed and a disabled ramp is about to be built. Since word has got out about the project we have already had several new community groups interested in using the building, which is fantastic news for the church. St. Thomas' also appeared in The Church Times which is a first for us and with which we are delighted!”

Help us to help more churches

The National Churches Trust relies solely on the generosity of our Friends and supporters to fund our work. Last year we helped to rescue over 140 churches, chapels and meeting houses with grants totally close to £1.5m, but sadly we currently receive far more requests for help than we can possibly answer, and we are forced to turn down three out of every four places of worship that apply for a grant from us.

The good news is that there are many ways in which you can help us to help churches; by becoming a friend, making a donation, or leaving a legacy in your will.

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  • St Thomas' Church, Stockport, Cheshire