Thie Sheaynt Noo MarkSt Mark's Sanctuary
The Old School Room in St Marks is a familiar building in the heart of the village of St Marks and the Isle of Man. Temporarily closed in 2013 and threatened with permanent closure the local community have rallied around and begun the task of finding a new way of letting this building become a living place of personal development once more.
The last child left the school in the 1960's having been taught the staple skills of reading, writing and arithmatic. In a new generation, the skills we want to see develop are ones of self reflection and discovery.
Sitting next to St Mark's Church, in the midst of a true Island wilderness, we want to see the Old School Room develop in partnership with the Anglican Church, the neighbouring Methodist Church and other island churches as a place of fun and friendship, of escape and retreat.
The church and village community have raised the funds to ensure the building is structurally 'sound'. What we have now is a blank canvas waiting for colour and life. We have obtained planning permission to allow residential use.
Over the years to come we would like to see the facilities at the School Room develop to be able to offer comfortable spaces of retreat and a community venue with an ethos centered on fellowship, generosity and welcome; this is based on our Christian values and beliefs.
We understand that such an ethos will take time to 'embed' into the life of this space; holy ground is not created overnight. As our ethos grows, develops and matures, so will our buildings.
In our first phase of work, the one which you can help come to life right now, we want to deal with the basics.
£3000 - to be matched by the parish - will provide enough extra funds to install central heating and hot water where there is currently none. It will allow us to refurbish a toilet to include a shower and to repair window frames. That is all.
This is not a glamorous project in itself.
Our plans to repaint the exterior, to develop the gardens and even - who knows - one day to have comfortable ensuite rooms on a mezzanine floor are for years to come.
Right now, our first phase means that we can welcome travellers and offer simple shelter, bunkhouse camping... even CHAMPING (Church Hall cAMPING).
No matter whether a pilgrim wants space to hang their leathers after a day enjoying the TT with friends, a shelter from the storm after a day exploring the stunning Manx Landscape or a guided period of creative rest reconnecting with the sacred - we aim to welcome them all.
Frequently Asked Questions1) I thought this building was no longer open, wasnt it sold?The building was never on the open market and was never up for sale, although this was considered. It is owned by the Church of England Parish of Malew and Santan. Following the appointment of a new Vicar in the summer of 2014, The Vicar and Wardens are committed to ensuring that the building finds a way to serve both the local community and the wider Island.
2) Will my gift really help now?The amount we are currently looking to raise is relatively small. This is an old building and although it has aged well with little attention, our limited reserves have been used up doing the 'housekeeping'. What we have now is a structure which is secure and weatherproof. To spend just a little more, (the £3000 from this appeal and £3000 from the Parish), will mean that the building can begin to generate income, and although still modest this will over the next 5 years allow our development to continue at a steady pace.
3) When do you want the hall to be ready to actually sleep in?If we can raise this small amount we can have the building ready to welcome 'champers' at the TT races this year. We already have interested groups waiting to know if the school rooms will be available for the two weeks of the TT in June, the two weeks of the Manx Festival of Motoring in August and for six nights in July.
4) Who can I talk to about this, and can I visit and see for my self what potential there is before I give a gift?Of course you can visit, just get in touch with us by sending a message or telephone us on 01624 822469 and ask for James.