Crown 20/20 Group
Crown 20/20 Update
“Crown Church aims to invest in a major upgrade of our church buildings to provide a warm and welcoming home for worship, equip us with modern and accessible facilities to support Christian outreach into our community and to help our church meet the needs of that community.”
The Crown 20/20 Group is making very positive progress in achieving the goals set to deliver a phased upgrade of our church building to meet the needs of our congregation and community.
The Upper Hall is the focus of much of the current building activity and contractors I&K Ferguson are well advanced on the major refit to give us better facilities and greater storage. We are delighted that The Highland Council has agreed to install an 8-person lift to the Upper Hall as part of their partnership with us over the conversion of the Lower Hall into a nursery unit for Crown Primary School.
The Upper Hall should be operational before Morrison Construction commence work for the Council on the Lower Hall on 26 April, with a view to completion on 6 August.
One of the spin off benefits of working with The Highland Council on the Lower Hall Project has been their welcome assistance in dealing with the removal of asbestos from the building. Since the turn of the year, asbestos removal specialists have been removing a significant amount of material from the basement. Any further asbestos found will also be removed. Reducing our carbon footprint in the building is very much in our minds as we progress our many improvements.
We have been successful with our application for funding of £9,955 from the Scottish Government’s Climate Communities Action Fund to cover the cost of replacement double glazed windows in the Upper Hall. This grant is the latest assistance we have received in the major refurbishment of the Upper Hall and brings the total amount of grants and donations to more than £84,000 once Gift Aid is recovered. This figure includes the current congregational appeal of £33,625, including Gift Aid. What a terrific effort. The appeal has now been closed but there will be further opportunities for giving as we progress our ambitious plans for upgrading the church. We are also grateful to The Highland Council for a £30,000 grant from the Inverness Common Good Fund.
The Upper Hall is taking shape and this photo illustrates the progress being made.
The 8-person Innovation Lift is produced by Scandanavia AB, whose mission statement is: “We can, we do and we do it smarter”. To see the photograph and specification, click here. I hope you agree it looks impressive.
The design of both the Upper and Lower kitchens have now been signed off. To view the Upper Hall kitchen , click on this link.
So there is lots happening at the church despite the impacts of Covid-19 and the Crown 20/20 Group is committed to moving forward as swiftly and effectively as possible in the circumstances.
About the 20/20 Group
This Group was set up in early 2019 by the Kirk Session to drive forward ambitious plans for a modernisation of our church buildings to provide a warm and welcoming home for worship and deliver modern and accessible facilities to support Christian outreach into our community.
Foremost in our minds was the goal of making our church fit for mission in the 21st Century by:-
maximising the use of the space available and
finding much-needed investment to upgrade the fabric of our ageing building, such as toilets, kitchen and greatly enhanced accessibility for disabled and wheelchair users; via a new lift.
A priority was to provide a more welcoming experience for our congregation and the desire to reach out more to our local community.
We considered ourselves to be so lucky in having our church located in the very heart of Crown, sandwiched between the thriving Crown Primary School and the regenerated Midmills Complex, with its new housing and arts facility.
What a chance, we thought, for Crown Church to be centre stage in the Crown Regeneration story!!
Lease of Lower Hall for use by Crown School Nursery
Shortly after Crown 20/20 was formed, we received an approach from the local education authority - The Highland Council - to lease the Lower Hall. They turned to us as neighbours because the nearby Crown Primary School did not have space to accommodate two new nursery classrooms needed to meet the Scottish Government’s decision to extend provision for 3-4 year olds to 30 hours per week. Following discussions with the Council and a full consultation with our congregation, agreement has been reached for the Council to lease the Lower Hall for the foreseeable future.
Some land will also be made available to build cloakrooms and toilets for the children and to provide outside play space. Children will enter from Crown Primary School through a gate between the buildings. In return, the Council will carry out some improvements to the church halls, including the installation of a lift, as well as paying an annual rent.
It is interesting to note that the school next door was built and run by the church in Inverness in 1867 - 13 years before school attendance became compulsory for 5-10 year olds. It seems fitting that we can still be involved, and can strengthen the bonds with our community.
Upgrade of the Upper Hall
Installation of a lift at the church has been a long held ambition and it will be the first project to be undertaken. It will provide access to the Upper Hall and - in the longer term - to the galleries in the Sanctuary. An architect has been commissioned to reconfigure the Upper Hall, ensuring it has adequate insulation and storage space for our many user groups and meets all requirements for providing child care.
Developing a 24/7 facility
Crown 20/20 is preparing wider plans for developing the church itself into a 24/7 facility, which will be available to the wider community as well as to church organisations. A major objective is to make the building much more suitable to those less able and the disabled. Alongside this, the facilities will be upgraded to accommodate the several youth organisations, fitness classes, dance and drama group, toddlers’ groups, music groups, friendship club, the after-school club and breakfast club as well as the usual church meetings.
Plans include providing a new main entrance, which will be suitable for all abilities. Within the Sanctuary, it is planned to remove the pews and replace them with chairs to create more flexible space.
Clearly, these ambitious plans require the church to raise a significant amount of funds. We are actively progressing applications for funding and will be required to find money to match grants which are made to us. The Coronavirus pandemic will have a significant impact on timescales for redevelopment but once we get back to some kind of normality, we will be involving the local community in all sorts of ways, but in the first instance any individual and any church organisation willing to set to and raise even a modest amount should know how much that will be appreciated.
If you can help with anything, please get in touch with Mairi Fraser at the Drawing Room (Tel 01463 711888) or on her mobile (07889647996) or with Liz Gray (Tel 01463 239936) or on her mobile (07845067501).