Church in limbo after builders' lockdown collapse
A CHURCH is unable to welcome its congregation back after the contractor in charge of its £700,000 refurbishment project went into administration.
The Create 800 Project at St James Church in Mangotsfield started last year, when builders moved in to begin an overhaul.
The restoration and re-ordering project was intended to make the church fit for the 21st century, in time for its 800th anniversary in 2022.
Work started in June last year and since then services have been taking place at the church hall in Richmond Road.
The project was almost complete by the end of March and a date had been set for final commissioning, testing and instruction on using the new heating, lighting and electrical systems.
But lockdown put the work on hold and, soon afterwards, main contractor Hart Design and Construction went into administration, leaving outstanding debts to the mechanical and electrical sub-contractors who need to commission and test the building's systems before it can reopen.
Payments the church made for the work had not been passed on, so an extra £15,000 now needs to be raised on top of the more than £700,000 already donated to pay for the final stages of the work.
Vicar Rev Teresa Taylor said: "St James is so grateful to the local community, individuals and organisations, charitable funders and church members who have supported this project financially in so many ways.
"Sadly, due to these unforeseen and unprecedented circumstances, we just need this final push to secure the additional funding to complete the project.
"Once the building is commissioned and subject to current Government guidelines, St James members can realise their vision of a space not only open for Sunday worship again, but of a welcoming, accessible and adaptable space available for community activities such as a drop-in café and regular groups activities and one-off events, such as concerts and other musical events."
Anyone who can help the church can donate through its Virgin Giving Page at www.virginmoney.com/giving, by searching for St James Mangotsfield in the ‘make a donation’ section.
People can also contact the church directly via the website at www.stjameschurch.co.uk.
Photo courtesy of Chris Taylor