Coal bunker acts as barrier to simple project to install community facilities at historic church

New facilities are finally enabling St James the Greater Church to better serve its community, despite delays caused by the unearthing of an old coal bunker during works to install new drainage.

The discovery came about after the church began works to install a toilet and kitchen – a project funded by Allchurches Trust. The church had access to neither onsite.

The absence of a kitchen and toilet were causing problems for the day to day running of the church, which regularly hosts events such as weddings, funerals, festivals, services for local schoolchildren and fundraising activities.

The Grade I listed church on the outskirts of Twycross is also popular with visitors due to its historical significance. Its stained glass East Window, which was a gift from a knight in 1840, is believed to be one of the oldest in England.

The church was advised by its architect to fill the coal bunker in for safety before proceeding with the project. The unexpected find, alongside the discovery of a leaking drain chute, raised the total cost by £2000.

David Horobin, Treasurer at St James the Greater Church, said: “It is difficult to get across fully the problems we faced without a basic toilet or kitchen; the numbers of cups of tea, kettles boiled, cakes served on boards or benches… Then there was the embarrassment of being asked ‘where is the toilet’ – with our only answer being ‘I’m sorry – we don’t have one.”

Despite setbacks, the new facilities are now in place and the church has now been able to step up its community engagement. Allchurches Trust is proud to support churches like St James the Greater with projects that make them more accessible to all.