The proposal is for the HIVE trustees of which I am the treasurer is to purchase the URC church and adjoining halls and then run it as a multi-use community space to support the voluntary and community sector, to create a really important and beneficial community building which will support some of the most vulnerable people in Sudbury and district.
The building includes the Church itself, Friars hall, and four other versatile rooms of different sizes. It should be noted that there is no other suitable building available within the town.
With the knowledge and expertise of its Trustees and as an infrastructure consortium HIVE is well-placed to take on and manage this project.
We have applied for planning permission to turn the church into a community centre but we want the building to be used in exactly the same way it was when it was a church and church hall. This planning permission is still in progress and out for consultation.
HIVE also intends to retain the various memorial plaques and the war memorial which are in the Church, as part of its important history in the town.
We have raised £200,000 already and need another £150,000 to purchase the building based upon our surveyor's estimate. We also have a commitment from another funder for the £100,000 required to repair the building, update the kitchen, repair the heating system and to install a Changing Places facility to turn it into a viable and usable building once more.
In our projected income over expenditure spreadsheet we conservatively estimate a regular profit of about £10,000 per annum which will be used to support local charities by running courses for charities and also hiring out the rooms in the URC at a less than commercial rate for charity use.
We already have over 20 potential groups that want to use the venue when it is up and running such as from a church group, the local choral society, a slimming group, a charity specialising in helping victims of domestic abuse and activities to be run by the Befriending Scheme for people dealing with low-level mental health or loneliness. We also have interest from health professionals wanting to use this versatile facility for healthy lifestyle courses.