Open for business and continuing to fundraise
After starting in May 2011 the work to develop the former brick and stone Edwardian buildings have taken almost a year. Probably the most noticeable feature is the glass-fronted redevelopment which includes a huge welcome area and a bright performance and worship space for around 300 people.
Jane Brookes, Project Co-ordinator and church member said: "The Church has worked in careful consideration with our members, premises users and neighbours to develop the original plans that have lead us to the fantastic facility that we see today. "LRBC has transformed its complex which now fronts onto the four surrounding roads, we hope that the new building is attractive and reflects the welcoming nature of the congregation."
The church occupies a unique site in the heart of Leigh surrounded by four roads - Leigh Road, Chalkwell Park Drive, Marguerite Drive and Pall Mall. The modern addition to the traditional church building has cost more than £1million, so far more than 70 per cent of it has been collected by fundraising events and kind donations from church members, and the fundraising continues. The Baptist Union of Great Britain also helped with a loan to fund the renovation and the Cory Environmental Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, Allchurches Trust and Rosca Trust have also given money to the project.
The work has also renovated the areas used by the LRBC Pre-school, as well as the community events hall and other meeting rooms.
At the end of February 2012 children attending the church pre-school moved into the newly designed space which includes a safe outside garden area to play in.
The church has been open as usual throughout the building work to offer Sunday services and other regular weekly activities for hundreds of local people. Rev Steven Hembery, LRBC Minister commented: "Our prayer is that this inviting new landmark will build upon over 100 years of service in our community. This new facility will help us to welcome those in our neighbourhood more fully."
The Build Project
Join us in changing lives in our community
We are delighted that every week hundreds of people use the premises of Leigh Road Baptist Church (LRBC) for a multitude of activities. We currently provide a coffee shop, community centre, auditorium, halls, retail outlets and warehouse facilities.
Alongside working with the elderly, we are heavily involved in early years development with our Pre-School. We have appreciative parents, excellent staff and externally recognised standards in teaching quality. However, we now need modern fit for purpose premises to deliver a complete service.
LRBC is transforming its complex by enhancing the Pre-School and community facilities. We are creating a contemporary, visible and inviting landmark that drives forward and builds upon over 100 years of service for the people of Leigh.
Will you help us?
Steven Hembery MA FCA
Transformed facilities, increased opportunities
Over recent years the entire island site has been secured by LRBC for community use. This prominent, prime, accessible location for the surrounding community now fronts onto the four surrounding roads.
We aim to develop new high quality premises that will provide facilities meeting the needs of the local population. This will allow us to enhance the services we provide for children, youth, families and the elderly within our community.
This will result in a healthy community creating more jobs and volunteering opportunities for local people.
We see this as the continuation of a long and sustained investment in the people and families of our neighbourhood.
1993 - Purchase of island site, opening of Oasis our community coffee house and provision of three flats, two of which provide for low-income families.
2000 - Development and opening of The Stables function suite for the whole community.
2009 - Upgrading and decoration of the auditorium for public performance.
2011 - Development of pre-school facility, new main open glass entrance and sports and events hall enhancement.
Overhead plan of new build:
Will you help us make these plans a reality?
Who is Pre-School for?
Currently providing jobs for 16 members of staff, Pre-School is for children aged 2-5 years and caters for around 70 children and families per week. We aim to provide a secure, friendly atmosphere where children can learn and grow as individuals, and with confidence in their own abilities, leaving us for school with a well rounded early-years education. However, Pre-School also caters for the whole family and staff are often greatly involved in supporting and signposting services for parents and carers.
Improving the safeguarding of children
The development will provide fit for purpose facilities, reducing risk in a self contained unit specifically designed with the children's safety and learning in mind. New direct and contained access to two outside play areas will also be created; aiding children who do not have safe access to outside play space in their home environment. The Pre-School, Youth and Children's work of LRBC take the issue of child protection very seriously. Our 'Safe to Grow' and the government's 'Safe from Harm' policies involve CRB checks, training, and risk assessments in order to improve security of both children and those working with them whilst on our premises.
Who else will benefit from the project?
Once a week LRBC runs a toddler group that benefits over 150 families. This provides space for children to play safely and parents/carers to relax and meet with other adults. The new open welcome area, meeting spaces and bright and spacious hall facilities would also benefit youth and schools, community theatre, elderly and interest groups that frequent the premises weekly.
How much is the Pre-School part of this development actually costing?
The figure for creating this fantastic Pre-School area, and the other areas they will benefit from, is in the region of £110,000.
Surely the state provides for this?
No, in terms of building and facilities enhancement for Pre-School and other community activities there is no government funding. The vast majority of this project is being paid for by church members with over £600,000 pledged and donated so far. However, the entire project is costing £900,000, we are therefore looking for partners who believe in the services we provide to help us with the shortfall.
Planning permission has already been granted and work will commence in May 2011, this will run for seven months, completing in time for Christmas.
We still need to raise around £300,000 to pay for this important project. We humbly ask for your support in this.
Would you please consider a donation? If so please either:
Download the Build booklet pdf, complete the form on the last page and send it to:
Leigh Road Baptist Church
Marguerite Drive, Leigh on Sea,
Essex SS9 1NN