Crown 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).