Here at Westville we work on all sorts of insulation and renovation projects both big and small across the country, but if there’s one thing we really do love it’s getting involved in a big, community wide project.
This is exactly what happened in 2017, when we were approached to be a part of a significant community project in the Derby suburb of Allenton. Back in 2012 the area of Allenton was awarded £1million by the Big Lottery Fund on the basis that the area had significant needs and had been overlooked for funding in the past.
This £1million was to be paid over the course of 10 years, and was to be put towards projects that would benefit the entire community. This lead to the creation of the Allenton “Big Build” project, designed to decide how to best use the money.
Part of this money was then dedicated to the renovation of the St Martins Church & Community Centre. Based in the Lord & Whitting Estate, the Church had an aging and dwindling congregation, and the building had fallen into disrepair, along with being targeted by vandals.
Working with Big Local and Derby Homes, the church worked on a plan to convert the church hall into a modern community centre. Proposed facilities were highlighted to include; community rooms, a community café, a sensory garden and an outdoor play for pre-school children. The refurbished was also to provide a venue to host local theatre groups, youth clubs, toddler groups, dance sessions and big community events.
At this point, we were called in to take part in the project. Our team were tasked with rendering the external facade of the church hall, to make it aesthetically pleasing and to blend in nicely with the surrounding environment.
We were one of 50 organisations involved in the 18 month long project, which was delivered for less than £220,000, thanks in part to the help of the dozens of volunteers who also got involved.
The big reopening finally came in the form of an 18 hour long launch party which a wide range of services that the centre can now provide, including a veterans breakfast, childrens play sessions and more.
Since the relaunch the on site cafe has been extremely popular as have the wide array of community events put on, with a view to ensuring that the building becomes a community hub and does not fall into disrepair again.
Following completion, the building has been extremely well received, with one resident stating stating “it not only transforms the building but the whole street”.
Social media comments included “ WOW!! These guys are amazing! Our generous and supportive friends at Westville really have done us proud! The rendering scheme truly has transformed the #allentonbigbuild and the quality of the finish is phenomenal! We want to say a huge thank you to Rob, Karle, Bry, Wes, Ryan and the team for what is genuinely a top job!!
This has been such a fantastic project, that a 20 minute documentary about St Martins and the Big Build has actually been made, which you can see here.
Here at Westville we always get a real buzz from working in the community. However, what makes it really special for us is to see a project come to fruition that really makes a difference to a place. We’re proud to say this was one of those projects and we all wish St Martin’s Community Centre all the success it deserve for the future.
If you’re ever in the Allenton area then we definitely recommend that you swing by St Martins and have a look at the great work carried out by the whole community – and maybe grab a sneaky bacon bap from the fantastic cafe too!
For more information about the work we did on this project please see our St Martins Community Centre case study.