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Holy Family Church, Gravesend

The Holy Family Church Hall is the only community facility on the Christianfields estate in Gravesend, but was in a desperate condition: it was cold and damp, had unusable toilet facilities and a large crack across the concrete floor represented significant trip hazard. The hall was, however, important locally as the area is one of the most deprived areas in the country, it is also densely populated, and has no open green space.

CSC was asked to help raise the funds that will allow the Vicar and PCC to upgrade the Hall and establish a community garden on a piece of derelict waste ground next to the Church.

The Church Hall had not been improved for almost 50 years: the windows were the single glazed originals, the toilets were outmoded or broken and had no baby changing or disabled facilities. Although it is the only community building in the area, few people liked going there as it was so cold and poorly serviced. A survey that CSC developed for the Church established that most people living nearby thought that the area was under-resourced, and that they would be willing to use the Hall more often if it was in better condition.

Alongside the Church is a derelict site that was once the Rectory until it burned down many years ago. This site was recently sold for housing, but a small plot was reserved for the Church to convert into a community garden where people could sit in contemplation or meet with friends.

CSC identified a number of potential funders with an interest in the work of the church in communities, developing community facilities and the establishment of communal gardens and green spaces. We then prepared approaches that were tailored to the priorities of the respective funders and were eventually successful in raising around £15,000 that allowed the work to continue.

The refurbished hall was opened by the Mayor of Gravesham and Archdeacon of Rochester in November 2014, and is now well used by a wide variety of community organisations, including dance classes and a toddler group, and will be available to charities and statutory bodies wishing to deliver services on an outreach basis.

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