St Richard's Church and centre is a local landmark, a multi-use building right at the heart of its community. Built in 1965 to serve a rapidly growing suburb, it continues to be a much-used resource for local people, groups and their activities.
At the heart of St Richard's is a worshipping community, a Church of England church with a vision and passion to serve the needs of the people who live within its parish and surrounding areas. We do this, in part, through the wide variety of groups and activities on offer each and every week. But our building is no longer fit for purpose, limiting this vision rather than enabling it.
Project Grow is about building on what's already happening in Hanworth and north Hampton, celebrating the previous 50 years of the church's life, but also looking to a better future for all the people of our parish.
“I am delighted that St Richard’s has set out such a compelling vision for the future shape of the mission of this local church.”
Rt Revd Paul Williams, former Bishop of Kensington
The catalyst for Project Grow was the crisis created by repeated theft of copper from its roof in 2010-11, destroying over half the surface area of the entire roof, which resulted in the 'temporary' application of a two layer roofing felt to make the roof watertight. However, further inspection of the roof and spire brought the news that the structure itself was in need of major repair.
Our April 2015 Quinquennial Inspection report (carried out by CPL Chartered Architects) summarised the situation as follows:
“The records indicate that the churchwardens have been diligent in seeking to identify and carry out maintenance and improvement works to the church... but the theft of the copper roofing on eight occasions has had a significant impact on maintenance of the building and deterioration of the fabric.
The original building constructed in 1965 is now showing its age in a number of ways and the need for increasing expenditure over the last 5 years on maintenance and general refurbishment of the building indicates that it is likely to be more cost effective to consider a major redevelopment and refurbishment of the building as a whole than to continue to deal with maintenance in a piecemeal manner.”
Quinquennial Inspection Report for St Richard's Church (April 2015)
The Report identifies 13 areas of the building requiring attention within 1 year and a further 30 requiring attention within 5 years (e.g. lighting, wiring, access, fire safety). But regardless of the specific problems highlighted, there are numerous practical challenges:
the buildings now look tired and unattractive, and do not appear welcoming to visitors
the worship area is too small for larger services or gatherings, and the lighting and sound quality is poor
the current first floor room is very difficult to access (a very narrow and steep staircase)
throughout the building there is a lack of storage space which particularly affects our Playgroup and the storage of expensive equipment such as computers and musical instruments
kitchen and toilets need to be improved, particularly to allow concurrent use when the Playgroup is present.
St Richard's is clearly a building in significant need of refurbishment. Quite simply, it is not fit to serve the needs of our community. For these reasons, the initial challenge to put a new roof on an old building is not enough. There is a far greater need to make the building safe, sustainable and fit for use as a worship and meeting space and community resource.
That's how Project Grow was born - a visionary plan to turn a crisis into an opportunity and to secure a brighter and more sustainable future for St Richard's and all the people of our parish.