Corbridge Community Hub: Save A Historic Building

by Corbridge Community Partnership in Corbridge, Northumberland, United Kingdom

Total raised £15,509

raised so far

+ est. £2517.25 Gift Aid

61

supporters

We want to save the former Corbridge Methodist Church and transform the interior into a Community Hub offering much needed services for all.

by Corbridge Community Partnership in Corbridge, Northumberland, United Kingdom

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What are we trying to achieve?

March 12th 2024: Come with us on an exciting Corbridge journey. We want to make life better for as many people as possible…and we hope you do too. Our aim as a local charity is to save the former Corbridge Methodist Church building and transform the interior into a Community Hub offering services, including for Corbridge families, people who are vulnerable or isolated and those with dementia and their carers. To create a brilliant legacy for future Corbridge generations to come. 

But we need your help to make this happen.

If you haven't done so already, please watch our short video at the top of this page. 

*Note: If you do not want to add a 'Tip' amount to Crowdfunder UK then simply select 'Enter custom amount' under their tip slider and enter £0.

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Opened in 1865, the building closed as a Methodist Church in April 2022. It has been well looked after and includes the main church area, the old schoolroom, a kitchen and the ‘New Room’ where we have created the Corbridge Heritage Centre. Plus the former ground floor Vestry and a first floor office. 

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We want to save this building from housing development which will only benefit a few people and create a vibrant centre for much needed community services and activities to benefit everyone in Corbridge.                                                                                               

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We have already commissioned an award winning firm of architects who have drawn up inspiring plans to transform the interior of the building so that it can best serve our community in future - if we can secure the funding.

Who are we?

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The Corbridge Community Partnership is a recently formed registered charity. There are currently eight trustees - all residents of the Corbridge area - supported by a large number of other residents who are experts in various fields and provide advice to the charity about legal affairs, planning, building, finance, fund raising, maintenance and so on. 

Our chairman is Maurice Hodgson, former chairman of the Parish Council. Both trustees and advisors are unpaid volunteers giving their time and expertise to this project for free for the benefit of the Corbridge community. Northumberland County Council and Corbridge Parish Council also support our plans, as does our local MP.

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Our story so far

Although a recently formed charity, we have been working hard on this project for the last two years. Hundreds of people have attended our initial public meetings, fund raising events and other activities. 

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With the building already used by organisations such as Tynedale Hospice at Home for local counselling, as well as a number of other users. 

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Dozens of local residents attend regular Tea and Chat afternoons at the Hub. 

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Other fund raising activities have included a Corbridge Apple Pressing Weekend producing thousands of cans of Corbridge Apple Juice and Corbridge Cider. Sold in aid of both this project and other local good causes.

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The Partnership inherited the assets of the Corbridge Village Trust and part of the building has already been converted into the Corbridge Heritage Centre. Run and staffed by over 20 volunteers, all local residents, it opened in April 2023 and has so far attracted over 1000 visitors, including local people and those from elsewhere in the UK and abroad. 

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Where is the money coming from?

We are about to submit a very detailed bid to the government’s Community Ownership Fund which is aimed at projects just like ours - to save buildings which are at risk of being lost to the community. 

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It can grant up to 80 per cent of both the £250,000 purchase price of the building and at least a further £250,000 for the interior works. Once our application has been submitted we expect a decision within three months. With other major funding sources also being explored in addition to the Community Ownership Fund.

Why your help is crucial...

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As part of the government funding process we have to raise 20 per cent - £100,000 - of the money ourselves. £50,000 from this Crowdfunding appeal and £50,000 from other funding sources we are already in contact with. So your help really is crucial. 

Corbridge is obviously not a big city with a large population so we know raising £50,000 will be a challenge and require substantial support. But with your help we can get there. And, of course, you do not have to live or work in Corbridge to donate. We are hugely grateful for any support from both near and far.

Why should you support us? At the risk of repeating ourselves, it’s all about making life better for as many people as possible. Every donation - large or small - counts towards making that a reality. Success in this Crowdfunding appeal would also greatly increase our chances of subsequent success in our £400,000 bid to the Community Ownership Fund.

How will the money be spent?

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(Examples above of previous church conversions)

The Methodist Church authorities are fully supportive of our plans. Offering us a lease with a view to a subsequent Community Partnership purchase of the building. Our aim, if the funds are secured, is to begin the interior works in 2025 with a view to completion within six to nine months. The new Community Hub will be energy efficient, environmentally friendly and have excellent access to all areas to meet the needs of the whole population. 

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It will include high quality, attractive new office, meetings, leisure and social spaces. Enabling the project to generate income to meet its running costs alongside the community services. A cafe is also planned to provide a social focus for the building and to raise income. Our plans also include a larger space for the Corbridge Heritage Centre and even better displays. A hidden first floor gallery in the former church area will be opened up and extended with a lift installed together with a new kitchen and toilets. The exterior of the building will remain the same aside from a new accessible entrance, with a ramp, at one side.

But we already have a Parish Hall?

Both ourselves and Corbridge Parish Council agree that this project does not conflict with what happens at the Parish Hall. That is mainly a space for hire by various organisations hosting a range of activities. The Corbridge Community Hub will, at its heart, be a base for partners offering services to the community to meet the demand here for health and wellbeing, education, welfare and other services.

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What about parking?

Many visits to this community hub will be made by local Corbridge residents - the majority within reasonable walking distance. Non resident visitors to the current Heritage Centre are a mix of overnight visitors to Corbridge and day visitors. If not using bus and rail links, those with vehicles are usually already parked elsewhere in the 'village' and arrive on foot. There is also the large (90 spaces) and free all day 'Corbridge Village Car Park’ within relatively easy walking distance on the south side of the bridge over the Tyne and plans for an expansion to this car park of 40 further spaces are close to being finalised. Short term paid street parking is also available in Princes Street but we do not envisage the vast majority of visitors to the Hub will use that.

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What happens if you are unsuccessful in your bid to the Community Ownership Fund?

Although we believe we tick every box and are submitting an excellent application to the Fund, there are no guarantees. Should we not obtain government funds we still plan to proceed with this project, albeit having to seek funds elsewhere. So your donation to this charity project will not be wasted. Every penny counts towards saving this building for our community and transforming it into a wonderful community hub for all.

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And finally...

Community hubs can benefit the community in more ways than offering services: 

  • They help build more cohesive and resilient communities. 
  • Build better and more integrated services. 
  • Transform an existing and unused building. 
  • Provide a focus for community led regeneration.

If you can, please make a donation and help create that brilliant legacy for our Corbridge community. Thank you! 

Share: Please also feel free to share this appeal as widely as you can.This is the link to copy and paste:

https://crowdfunder.co.uk/p/corbridge-community-hub-save-a-historic-building

If you would prefer to donate in another way then you can email the chairman of our charity Maurice Hodgson direct at:

[email protected]

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