A community hub at the heart of Holbeck

20 APR 2020

Funding from Allchurches Trust helps St Luke’s Church to build a community centre, bringing local residents together and encouraging social cohesion.

In 2019, Allchurches Trust granted £30,000 to The ‘Your Community’ Project – enabling St Luke’s Church to build an extension on their existing building. The project will not only provide a space for community transformation programmes to be delivered, but will provide key support services for the residents of Holbeck and Beeston.
 
The parish is in the bottom one percent for economic disadvantage, with a 34.9% child poverty rate. The local people love their community, but there are some clear challenges to overcome. Sudden demographic change within the area has resulted in tensions between groups from different cultures and, sometimes, a lack of tolerance. There have also been increasing levels of crime and antisocial behaviour and an increased risk of homelessness. The new hub, in partnership with other projects, will help to tackle these issues and be transformative for the local area. 
Members of the congregation at St Luke's church in Holbeck
The church development
 
The development will house meeting rooms, a business hub and a kitchen and a café, taking the pressure off the church itself, whose rooms are often filled to bursting. The exterior of the extension is nearly finished, with a beautiful façade that is in keeping with the rest of the building. The church consulted with the community and over 80% of residents in the surrounding area wanted a traditional design. It’s a case of ‘you said, we did’.
 
Due to Coronavirus restrictions, building work is temporarily delayed. However, when lockdown is lifted, the project is set to be just eight weeks away from completion! 
 
Taking action: what happens next?
 
The project begins when the building work ends. The church plans to approach local charities and service providers to welcome them into partnership. The key question for consideration will be: who will provide significant transformation for this highly disadvantaged community? Several projects have already expressed interest in partnership and St Luke’s will also be running their own programmes from the building. At present, they are running children’s support work, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and international meal celebrations – all with the aim of making the community more inclusive and encouraging cohesion.
 
Reverend Alistair Kaye, Project Leader for The ‘Your Community’ Project, said: “We hope that the hub will be a great resource for the area. Working on our own, we can just scratch the surface, but working together with local members of the community, we can help transform the area. A massive ‘thanks’ to Allchurches Trust for believing in us and in our community.”
 
Andrew Bass, Grants Officer for Allchurches Trust, said: “The community hub and wider project will make a huge difference to people living in Holbeck and Beeston. We’re proud to provide church funding for this development which will bring the community together. Congratulations to St Luke’s for their hard work and dedication. We can’t wait to see the finished product!”
Images of the new extension at St Luke's Church in Holbeck
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