A £1 MILLION project to redevelop a fast growing Sheffield church is nearing completion.
Around 1,000 people go to St Thomas Crookes - more than 60% under the age of 30 - and they have financed the refurbishment and construction scheme, which is designed to benefit the church and community.
One of the features is the replacement of an old school playground with what the church believes will become a ‘village square’ and new focal point for Crookes.
Work on the redevelopment, which includes a new two-storey block to link the church and the church centre in the old school, started in May and is more or less on schedule for completion.
“With the wet summer, we have had a few delays, but we are looking at the end of November,” said operations manager Becca Staniforth. “It will be open to the public by Christmas.”
While many churches are seeing a decline in their congregations, St Thomas has grown over the years as an Anglican/Baptist church, especially attracting young people. Ten years ago, a sister church, St Thomas Philadelphia, was established with its own large campus on an industrial site at Shalesmoor.
Now attention has turned to Crookes.
As well as the new link building and ‘village square’, a new glass-fronted church entrance is being created to face the main Crookes road, replacing the one around the corner in Nairn Street, and the church centre, formerly Crookes Endowed School, is being refurbished.
“It has been something the church has been looking at for the last few years, working out the right design and what we want to achieve,” said Becca. “It will be a real asset to Crookes. Our hope is that the new open space will be a positive for the church and the local community.”
Money for the campus redevelopment has come from a giving programme over a number of years.
The church centre is used for a range of community activities, including children’s groups, and it used for Christian training.
The church, which sends ‘cluster’ teams into the communities of Crookes, is also busy throughout the week, and its congregation has grown considerably over the last five years.
“We are seeing when we meet people that they are looking to connect with something, that they are looking for a better way of living,” said Becca. “They want to feel part of something.”