The Covid-19 crisis has inspired All Saints Church, Wokingham to bring forward the most vital elements of its £3m transformation project.

The ‘spaceforall’ project will start in the spring of 2021. Phase One will cost £1m and has benefitted from £10,000 funding from the Diocese of Oxford Development Fund. The work will involve:

  • Removing the pews and replace them with flexible seating and a new floor. The ‘faculty’ (permission from the Diocese to change the historic fabric of the building) is going through, and planning permission from the local authority has been granted.
  • A new door to provide better accessibility
  • Disabled toilets
  • Better hospitality – kitchen and servery facilities
  • Improved audio-visual equipment and lighting

Following seed funding from the Diocesan Development Fund, fundraising has now started in earnest for the work, which will help the church provide a safer space, especially with more flexible seating to allow for easier social distancing and cleaning of chairs after use. When completed, the church will become a community hub for the whole of Wokingham.

All Saints Church dates back to 1180 and is a listed building of historical importance. It is the oldest public building in the town of Wokingham and contains many items relating to the town’s local and national history. A heritage project involving history enthusiasts from the town has been launched, along with a bid for National Lottery heritage funding.

The Revd Canon David Hodgson, the Rector of All Saints, says: “Our ‘spaceforall’ project is an ambitious one that aims to provide a modern community space for Wokingham for generations to come. This is a real opportunity to bless the community in a time when people are in even more need of somewhere they can go for support.

“We have talked to a lot of different organisations who are in need of meeting spaces. The Cornerstone community centre is already well used and often fully booked.

“The work will transform All Saints into a hub for a variety of projects as well as Christian worship. We have been grateful for the support of the people of Wokingham, our congregation, the Diocese of Oxford and all of the donors that are helping the vision become a reality.”