In 2016 St. Andrews Church began a major project that saw many years of planning come to fruition. The project is called a ‘re-ordering’ as its aim is to ‘re-order’ the inside of the church so that it has facilities that are fit for the modern world and so that the church can adapt to the needs of the local community and the congregations of the benefice.
Many years of planning, preparation and fundraising has gone towards the project so far. It all came together in late 2016 with the removal of many of the fixed Victorian box pews from the church. Eight of the historical pews have been left at the rear of the church but the rest were removed and donated to recently restored St. Helen’s Church that forms part of the Beamish Museum in County Durham, as the photos above show. This left space in St. Andrews for much more flexible seating, and a large number of new red and grey chairs and tables have since been purchased so that we have flexible seating arrangements throughout. At this point the project was truly in business!
Below is a link to the floor plan which shows an outline of some of the ambitious developments that we hope to take on to re-model the church so that it is fit for 21st Century use.
The plans started to become a reality when in mid-2017 the congregation moved out and the builders moved in! This picture shows what St. Andrews was like once everyone had moved out and the building was ready for the workmen. This image focuses towards the 3 south bays – each of which was due to be turned into a new purpose-built space. This was to be the largest and most noticeable part of the project to date.
By December 2017 the three south bays had been completed, providing glazed screens to a new kitchen, meeting room and enlarged vestry/office. The dais had also been enlarged, a new disabled toilet had been created at the rear of the church (no photo inside this for the obvious reason!) and many of the internal monuments had been moved to create these workable spaces. The font had also been adjusted to remove the step beneath it and preparation work had begun to turn the space under the bell tower into a meeting room. The photo gallery below shows some of these spaces in active use in the month following the completion of this phase.
In 2019 we completed a major refurbishment of the driveway to the church to make it a safe ramped access to the church. There are also many ongoing changes. The space underneath the bell tower has now been transformed into a meeting space and we have had a revamp of our audio and visual technologies, improving it to enhance our services and events.