New Community Space to Open With Harvest Fun Day
|Published: 10th October 2019 17:12|
Families will join in a free Harvest party next weekend (Sat 19 Oct) to help launch a new community venue.
The co-operative group St M’s Events will be launched within St Michael’s Church in Paulsgrove, at a Harvest party on October 19. The event will include a samba band, urban line dancing and children’s craft activities.
The launch comes after a £460,000 refurbishment of the church building, so that it can offer a warm, welcoming space for wedding receptions, parties and community activities throughout the week. Building work took place over the summer to create a space that can be the hub of the local community.
The Harvest party will involve a barbecue in the garden, with hay bales and music; autumn craft-making activities, with the chance to make a scarecrow or pumpkin patch; and dance performances and workshops from Waterlooville studio ‘Fit’n’Funkey’ (correct). It is all free of charge, and happens from 1pm-5pm.
Paulsgrove residents will also be invited to sign up as members of the new co-operative St M’s Events. Membership will offer discounts and vouchers to all St M’s Events activities along with opportunities to develop and shape something creative in the community.
St M’s Events has been set up as a co-operative so that community groups can share in the running of the space. Corinne Wincott has been employed as events and community project manager, to support and encourage those groups that would like to be involved.
The £400,000 grant was awarded from the Big Lottery Fund after the church listened to around 500 local residents to discover what they wanted to see in Paulsgrove. The feedback from locals was that people wanted better and more attractive facilities where they could celebrate important events and showcase their community.
The survey was part of the church’s three-year ‘Proud to be Paulsgrove’ campaign, which has included a local photography competition, community hog roasts and superhero activity days.
The building project involved the creation of three separate community areas within the church, alongside the main worship area. These are designed to be flexible and attractive, so they can be used by a variety of different groups during the week. The church can now host everything from music performances to cake-baking, from dance classes to toddler groups.
The £404,000 award from the Big Lottery Fund was spent alongside around £50,000 invested by St Michael’s Church, and the Council for Social Responsibility, a social transformation charity connected to Portsmouth’s Church of England diocese.
The church has ambitious goals of reaching more than 1,000 residents in the first two years, recruiting 100 new volunteers, and inspiring the creation of 10 new community groups.