Earley church starts work on new community centre
A NEW community centre being built in Earley celebrated one milestone yesterday and is looking forward to another on Sunday.
Yesterday, traffic into Sutcliffe Avenue was brought to a standstill as a new temporary building was lifted 100ft into the air, moved over the roof of St Nicolas Church and placed in its gardens.
And on Sunday, the Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Andrew Proud, will visit the Earley church at noon to take part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new centre. He will be joined by the mayor of Earley, Cllr Michael Firmager.
When finished, the new community centre will act as a hub for local residents and see the church expand the facilities it can offer people.
The church hopes that all sorts of groups, charities and good causes – from dog training to a children’s nursery; from Pilates to scouts – will make use of the new facilities.
The centre came about after a lifelong member of St Nicolas, Pat Dummer, generously donated a substantial legacy in her will.
The church spent months listening to neighbours to find out what was needed locally: the vision for the St Nicolas Centre was born.
The new building will feature many great spaces – inside and out – alongside a large hall, the church itself and an airy, lounge space connecting the two.
The church hopes that the new St Nicolas Centre will be an accessible and welcoming space to meet friends and join in with church activities, community and charity groups.
The church was launched on the site 70 years ago, in 1947.
Some church members who still remember those early days will be at the Breaking Ground Ceremony on Sunday.
The Revd Neil Warwick, Vicar of St Nicolas, said: “I’m so excited this day has come.
“The people of Earley really need a good community space and we’re delighted to be able to make that happen with the St Nicolas Centre.
“St Nicolas Church is about being open to God and our community and the Centre is a brilliant sign of that.”
The construction is due to take seven months and should be finished by early 2018.