Youngsters watch as bulldozers move in to start work on new church and community centre

Children watch work getting under way at the Old Barns site in Stoke Gifford.

Youngsters from a Stoke Gifford pre-school and nursery took their buckets and spades to watch work begin on a new church and community centre.

The children, from St Michael’s Church Pre-school and Nursery, donned hard hats and hi-vis jackets and took their buckets and spades to see diggers at work on the site of the Old Barns in North Road, Stoke Gifford.

The derelict site is being transformed into a 600-seat auditorium, meeting rooms and other facilities, which will provide much needed conference space for schools, charities and local businesses as well as wedding receptions and other celebrations. It will also serve as a resource for the wider region, within easy access of the M4 and M5 motorways and next door to Bristol Parkway Station.

The contract has been won by Bristol-based building contractor Bray & Slaughter.

The new church and community centre is key to the church’s £5.5m Heart of the Community project, which also includes refurbishing the Old School Rooms adjacent to the Old Barns and renovating the 14th century church, next door to the pre-school and nursery. Ten percent of all money raised by the congregation will be used to fund similar projects overseas.

The congregation has already raised £2 million in one-off donations and pledges over the next five years towards the project. The church plans to raise the rest of the money from fundraising events, grants and the generosity of individual and corporate donors.

Reverend Simon Jones, Rector of St Michael’s, said:

“The local population is set to rise from 12,000 to 20,000 over the next ten years. There is an increasing need for local amenities, particularly where the wider community can join together.”

“St Michael’s has a long history of serving the local community and beyond. This building is not just for the needs of the church today, but for the whole community, the wider region and also for future generations.”

We are grateful to God for what he has given us, but we don’t want to keep it to ourselves. We want to use what we have to serve others.”

Bray & Slaughter were appointed following an extensive tender process. The 113-year-old contractor was chosen for a variety of reasons including their extensive quality project experience and knowledge and their dedication to Bristol and the surrounding area.

Managing Director Grant Jefferies said:

“We are delighted to have been selected to deliver the St Michael’s Heart of the Community project on the Old Barns site. The opportunity for a local business such as Bray & Slaughter to be involved in a scheme with such a strong emphasis on local engagement and legacy is inspiring and we look forward to forming a strong relationship with all stakeholders of the project.”

Photo: Youngsters from St Michael’s Church Pre-school and Nursery with their buckets and spades.

Map: Location of the Old Barns in North Road (Google Maps)

More info: Redevelopment of the Old Barns (The Journal)

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