Sudbury charity receives grant to develop United Reformed Church and Friars Hall

Christ Church United Reformed Church in Sudbury could be developed into a community hub. Picture: CH

Christ Church United Reformed Church in Sudbury could be developed into a community hub. Picture: CHRIS SHIMWELL - Credit: Archant

A Sudbury charity has been awarded a £5,000 grant to transform a town church and adjoining hall which closed in January due to falling attendances.

Christ Church United Reformed Church in Sudbury could be developed into a community hub. Picture: CH

Christ Church United Reformed Church in Sudbury could be developed into a community hub. Picture: CHRIS SHIMWELL - Credit: Archant

Hive, based at The Croft, has received the ‘seed grant’ from Power to Change to further its aim of turning the Christ Church United Reformed Church building and Friars Hall into a community hub.

The church, on School Lane, closed at the start of the year due to a falling congregation, which leaves the town with very few venues for hire.

Community groups in Sudbury have expressed concern about the lack of buildings for hire, especially with question marks over the future of the Delphi Centre due to the factory’s full closure in 2020.

The grant will fund a public consultation and development of a business plan, which is hoped will help Hive achieve the necessary funding to make a bid for the empty church building and set it up as a community resource.

The charity has offered to coordinate the project to turn the church building and adjacent Friars Hall into a facility that will benefit community groups and individuals in the area.

Lesley Ford-Platt, trustee, said: “Sudbury Hive would hope to manage the building so that its use by community groups could be maximised, in response to local needs, by using the facilities within the church and within Friars Hall for meetings, rehearsals, arts and musical events as well as possibly services of worship.”


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Over the past nine months, Power to Change – an independent trust supporting community businesses in England – has been working with Suffolk County Council and a number of district councils to unearth budding community business ideas.

Known as Suffolk Seed Grants, these will test the viability of the businesses proposed and the benefit they could bring to the area.

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Karen Bleay, community engagement worker for Hive, is asking for views from residents and community groups as to what they would like to see the church building used for.

She can be contacted at 01787 371 333 on Monday-Friday 9am-5pm or via email at: enquiries@sudburyhive.org

Hive is a charity that helps local community groups through networking opportunities, offering free training courses and the sharing of expertise, has members from over 40 groups and organisations including the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Kernos Centre, Eden-Rose Coppice Trust and Sudbury Area Cancer Support Group.

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