Building our future

image of interior of St Matthew's ChurchImprovements to St Matthew's Church

St Matthew’s Church has been standing at the heart of this community since 1858. In recent years, we have welcomed many new people through our doors with friendship groups like Socially Yours, our own Toddle Time, our extended Saturday Café welcoming the Neighbourhood Charity Crafters and Comfortable with Computers; as well as large scale public events like our fairs, Community Open Day, and school performances.

As part of our commitment to our community, we have invested in a full time Community Development Manager, and also purchased, and fully refurbished, St Matthew’s Church House. It is licensed for worship and provides meeting rooms and facilities for community activities.  Please go to St Matthew's Church House page to find out more.

We will now invest in improving the interior of the church so that it is more welcoming, accessible, and flexible to meet the needs of both our church family and the wider community.  We want to remove any barriers that may prevent, or at least make it difficult, for people entering the church, enlarge our capacity, create more flexibility in how we can layout our central space, particularly for large scale events, and improve the quality of your visit. By making these changes, we hope to also be able to try new things, based on our understanding of the needs in our community.

There will be no changes to the overall look of the church.

Under our Creating Accessible Space project, we will:

  • Improve the porch area. Don’t worry, the iconic red entrance doors will stay but we will have an internal glass door which will give better visibility into the church as well as keeping out draughts. This will give better access for people with wheelchairs or buggies, as well as open access for wedding and funeral parties

  • Move the baptism font to one side so that it doesn’t block access or cause a trip hazard

  • Add a new toilet and improve the current toilet so that it meets accessibility requirements

  • Improve and extend the kitchen area

  • Replace pews with chairs to make the central area much easier to reconfigure for worship, toddler groups, school visits, fairs, open days and larger events

  • Enlarge the area around the altar and improve disabled access. This will give extra space for, amongst other things, Sunday services, special events, school performances.

  • We will also improve the storage area behind the organ so that we can remove some of the unsightly cupboards around the church, and also reposition the central heating system into this space

Click here to view our Plans

In early 2020, we held a public consultation in the form of both an electronic and paper survey, as well as a coffee morning.  A total of 106 responses were received and there was overwhelming support for the improvements we had proposed.  Here is a summary of the public consultation results.

Work will start in September 2021. We will keep people updated through this page and through our Facebook page