WE HAVE a great venue in Alverstoke that already hosts about 30 different groups from our community – but we need to improve it.
The building is our parish centre, in Green Road, which is used by youth groups, toddler groups, Messy Church, groups for the elderly, and many other activities that benefit local residents.
It’s a vital part of the way that St Mary’s Church serves the local community here.
Unfortunately, the building is about 50 years old, and has some problems.
The roof leaks, the drains are crumbling, the heating system is inadequate, and it needs a lot of work.
We want to raise about £1.5m to develop a new, modern parish centre that will be fit for 21st century requirements.
It has to meet the current needs of the groups that already use it, and future needs for new things we’d like to do.
We’re basing our plans on a survey we did in 2014 of those who used the building.
The draft designs are now on display in the centre itself.
They include new and accessible toilets, energy-efficient heating and lighting, a new kitchen, meetings rooms, more office space and storage space for those community groups.
If we don’t quite manage to raise all of that money, then whatever we do raise will be spent on refurbishing the drains, heating, power and toilet facilities anyway.
We will be approaching some organisations for grants, but we’ll stand a better chance of obtaining those grants if we can show commitment from our local community to support the regeneration of this wonderful resource.
So we’re holding some fundraising events and we’d love to see you there to help us raise the money.
We have coffee mornings on November 22 and January 24, and then on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the centre, from 10.30am.
It’s just £2.50 for coffee and cake.
We’re also organising some talks, quiz nights, barn dances and other fun events.
We’re encouraging people to collect a mini milk bottle from the parish office and fill it with coins or notes.
And of course people are welcome to donate via standing order or by cheque.
No contribution will be too small, and we will be grateful for whatever you can provide.
The final decision will be made by August 2018, when we’ll have a realistic view of what we can afford to do.
Rev Andy Norris is the rector of Alverstoke