Work begins on refurbishing Baptist church in Milton Keynes

    Building work has begun at Lovat Hall, home to Newport Pagnell Baptist Church, Milton Keynes, to refurbish their busy sports and community hall.

    The refurbishment is much needed to make the aging building weathertight and better insulated to ensure it can continue to be a viable venue for not only the church but the many community groups and activities it hosts on a weekly basis.

    Seventy-five per cent of the building’s use is for the local community, with activities providing recreation, social connection and support for everyone from babies to the elderly. The project is the first step of an essential whole-building redevelopment and follows years of fundraising by the church and community.

    This summer Lovat Hall will be temporarily closed whilst the main hall gets a new roof and ceilings, new windows and PV panels with a battery system to provide sustainable energy for the site. Lovat Hall will reopen again for community use in October.

    The project is being supported by a £100,000 grant from FCC Communities Foundation, £56,000 of funding from the Carbon Offset Fund administered by Milton Keynes City Council, with additional support from Milton Keynes Community Foundation and a Pebbles grant from the Rank Foundation. The work is being undertaken by Neville Special Projects.

    Steve Wood, Senior Pastor of Newport Pagnell Baptist Church is excited that the project is starting to take shape. He said, “It’s great to see our vision to preserve this vital facility for future generations of our church and community moving closer to reality. Lovat Hall makes a huge difference to the lives of people living in the area, and with the rapid expansion of the town with the planned new housing estates within and on the edge of Newport Pagnell the quality and availability of our community spaces has never been more important.

    He continued, “We are extremely grateful for the generosity of our church family, the support we have had from the community and the funding we have been awarded by FCC Communities Foundation, the Carbon Offset fund, Milton Keynes Community Foundation and the Rank Foundation. A project like this is a team effort.”

    FCC Communities Foundation is a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community projects through the Landfill Communities Fund. Richard Smith, FCC Communities Foundation Senior Grant Manager said, “It’s always nice to see something we have funded start to take shape. We’re delighted to be supporting such a worthwhile project and look forward to it benefitting the community across Newport Pagnell.”

    Milton Keynes City Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Sustainability and Innovation, Cllr Shanika Mahendran said, “We’re delighted to be working with Newport Pagnell Baptist Church to help them with their refurbishment plans. All of the work being done here will help provide excellent facilities for the community and help us achieve our future sustainability targets. I’m delighted to see more applications being made through the Carbon Offset Fund, which shows our city is dedicated to taking meaningful steps to reduce emissions.”

    Examples of those who will benefit from the refurbished facilities include parents and toddlers attending play groups, children’s brigades and youth groups, users of NHS baby clinics and blood donation clinics, community groups offering Zumba, badminton, table tennis and dancing, and local charities who make use of Lovat Hall, including Unity MK which uses the hall as emergency accommodation for the homeless in the winter months.

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