Twickenham United Reformed Church (URC), situated on First Cross Road by Twickenham Green, is undergoing a renaissance. A dedicated minister, a dynamic church leader and a committed executive committee have transformed a nonconformist chapel into a centre of support for youth groups and local organisations.
In the past few years, two enterprises - the Drop-in Club and Toddler Time for children up to age 8 with their carers and parents, and the 00Zero Club, an after-school resource for children over the age of 8 - have won funding from the church's central body, the URC Southern Synod, to support the employment of a youth worker.
The number of local groups hiring the church buildings has increased. The uniformed organisations, including our Scout, Cub, Brownie and Beaver groups, have met in the church hall for decades. Other groups have joined them in response to the church's welcoming approach; one of these has been the 80-strong Teddington Choral Society who started rehearsing in the church in 2008, drawn in by the excellent acoustics of the space. Many other local groups and organisations take advantage of the church, its membership and its buildings.
The buildings are now badly in need of renovation to bring them up to contemporary standards for the many users of the buildings and to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). The church has taken this opportunity to renovate the church and its adjoining buildings, to transform them into spaces more suitable to support the needs of the community. We are always keen to increase our contribution to the community, but at present we are having to turn down some requests, such as for nursery use, as the current premises are unsuitable.
The work to be completed is mainly renovation of the buildings, without any increase in the footprint of the site. The church and church hall will retain their character and period façades. The building linking them will be changed to a more contemporary design. All access and facilities will be built to comply with the DDA. A new reception area is also planned with a design conceived specifically to reach out to the community beyond the church walls.
The realistic total budget for the works is of the order of £1,000,000. We have no land or additional buildings to sell in order to fund the work; the money will therefore have to be raised entirely from fundraising activity. The church is committed to raising the money needed to achieve this necessary development work, and a fund-raising committee was appointed in September 2008 to accomplish this task. We have made a good start so far with:
To date we have raised about £420,000, which was enough to start the first phase of the redevelopment in April 2012. We still need to raise at least £500,000 more in order to complete the redevelopment and bring all of the church buildings and facilities up to the same standard. We will be seeking further funding from grant-making trusts, but we still need to raise a lot from within the Church - and the local community, which will benefit greatly from the renovated buildings.
Once completed, this renovation work on Twickenham URC will have achieved 5 very worthwhile objectives: to preserve and enhance an important building in the Twickenham Green Conservation Area; to improve and increase the usefulness of the buildings for the local community; to enable the members of Twickenham URC to serve the local community better; to enable the members of Twickenham URC to conduct their church activities in an up-to-date environment; and to have complied satisfactorily with the requirements of the DDA.
Please help us to raise the required money by:
If you would like any further information on our redevelopment project then please contact the Church Treasurer or Secretary, or any of our other contacts. We will be pleased to tell you more about this project, and would appreciate any help that you can provide. If you would like to see what we hope to achieve, a model of the proposed redevelopment is available in the church and can be viewed before or after any service.