Expanding Whitchurch church launches £300,000 community hub appeal

An expanding church has launched an appeal to raise £300,000 towards the cost of renovating its new Whitchurch town centre hub.

Anna Turner with David WIlliams, Dr James Muir and Glyn Chapman outside Watergate Centre
Anna Turner with David WIlliams, Dr James Muir and Glyn Chapman outside Watergate Centre

Members of Beacon Church are raising funds to revamp its worship facility and create a community hub at the former shop units in Watergate Street.

Before the pandemic, Sunday services were held at Whitchurch Civic Centre with other meetings taking place at its office in St John’s Street.

Dr James Muir, a leader at the church, said: “For those willing to give our commitment is to plough our experience, energies, resources and faith into turning this building into a place that will welcome and serve the most vulnerable.

"And be a catalyst for this town to grow as a loving, accepting and compassionate community.”

The leaders this week hosted a visit to the Watergate Centre retail spaces previously occupied by Store Twenty One and Argos by the county's Lord-Lieutenant Anna Turner, who said the proposals were “most impressive and such a wonderful, ambitious project".

"It was lovely to feel inspired by the Beacon’s enthusiasm,” she said.

Dr Muir, a GP, said the visit as a massive honour and a huge encouragement to the congregation.

"The Beacon Church was delighted to welcome Anna Turner, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire to the Watergate Centre in Whitchurch," he said.

Welcome

"The Beacon took ownership of the centre in December 2020 and has great hopes to turn it into another community centre to stand alongside the Civic Centre and the Beech Tree centre, where people can find a warm welcome and various activities and services readily available to anyone, alongside their usual church activities for all ages and stages.

"Anna spent over an hour carefully looking around the premises and couldn’t have been kinder, more helpful or more interested," he added.

Services and meetings are currently being held online.

Donations can be made by cheque payable to The Beacon Whitchurch Limited and posted to 5 Watergate Street, Whitchurch, SY13 1DW; or by bank transfer Lloyds Bank sort code: 30-97-62 and account 00257124 in the same name; or online via tbcw.org

The church was granted planning permission to renovate the premises last year. In addition to services, members want to run activities for children, youths and older adults from the new hub, along with a host of other activities such as a repair centre, shower and laundry facilities for the homeless.

Initial work to design the layout has started.

The ministry which has seen many successes in the town and among residents started 17 years ago as a church plant linked to Shrewsbury's Barnabas centre.

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