Charity agrees to buy former church for transformation project

Christ Church United Reformed Church in Sudbury Picture: CHRIS SHIMWELL

The Christ Church United Reformed Church in Sudbury has been sold to a Sudbury charity - Credit: Archant

A Sudbury charity has agreed to buy a former town church to transform the Grade II-listed building into an "essential" community venue. 

The former Christ Church United Reformed Church, in School Street, Sudbury, closed in 2018 due to dwindling congregations and went onto the market for £650,000. 

Following negotiations, Sudbury Hive has now agreed with the URC Eastern Region Synod to buy the historic former church. 

The building will become The Hive Community Hub - offering medium to large-sized rooms and halls which can be used to serve the needs of organisations and groups in and around the town. 

The charity said it was "extremely grateful" to everyone who has donated or promised funding so the project can go ahead. 

Shirley Moore, chairman of Hive trustees, said: “We really are indebted to all of the local people, organisations and grant-making trusts that have made this purchase possible.

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"There is a lot of hard work still to be done and money to be raised but our intention is that this building will become an essential venue for the Sudbury community."

A major grant has been agreed by Suffolk Community Foundation through the Joy Abbott Fund, and in acknowledgement of this significant support, the church - which will be converted for performances and large meetings - will be known as “The Joy Abbott Hall”, the charity said. 

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Many other personal donations have been received from people in the community, as well as from the Lord Phillips Trust, former county councillors Jack Owen and Colin Spence, the Lord Belstead Trust, The Tudwick Foundation, The Hillier Trust, the Bernard Sunley Foundation and Siemens Healthineers.

The charity said other funding has been pledged by Sudbury Town Council, Sudbury Freemen’s Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, Colchester Catalyst Charity, Suffolk Community Foundation through the Maurken Fund, and Suffolk county councillor Peter Beer from his locality budget.

It is planned that organisations will be able to hire Friars Hall, the Anthony Wheeler Room and the Joy Abbott Hall from autumn this year, when all preparatory work has been completed.

There will be more work to be done to the building in terms of repairs and refurbishment, which will take place over time, the charity said. 

Any organisations wishing to hire halls in the Hive Community Hub can contact Gareth Cole, Hive trustee and treasurer, on 07771 893702 or via email here.

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