Community spirit in Peterchurch

PUBLISHED: 10:52 21 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:31 20 February 2013

Community spirit in Peterchurch

Community spirit in Peterchurch

Church secretary Enid Tarbox tells the story of how St Peter's at Peterchurch has become a place where the community can play, learn, get advice and come together

Golden valley opportunity

Church secretary Enid Tarbox tells the story of how St Peters at Peterchurch has become a place where the community can play, learn, get advice and come together

Peterchurch is a large village which lies in the centre of the Golden Valley in rural west Herefordshire. Families living here do not have the same access to services as those living in urban settings. With the nearest city, Hereford, 15 miles away, and the nearest town, Hay-on-Wye, 10 miles away, public transport is, at best, patchy in the Golden Valley.

During 2009 St Peters Church, a Grade 1 listed building, underwent a complete re-ordering of the nave space to provide facilities which would enable the building to be used by both the church and the community. This new space, within the church and called St Peters Centre, comprises a kitchen, disabled lift, library, toilets and a meeting room.It is available to the community with the aim of improving the quality of rural living by helping to build relationships across the community in partnership with other local organisations. The centre is run by a management committee (a sub-committee of the parochial church council) and includes representatives from other community organisations.

It will become self-financing and sustainable by hiring out the space
for exhibitions, concerts and private functions.

Public consultation and the Parish Plan highlighted the importance of community space the need for youth clubs, after-school clubs, childrens reading groups and IT access as well as for space for leisure activities and social groups concerts, drama, clubs and societies. The management committee could see that St Peters Centre could:

Give people a better chance in life
the chance to try new activities suchas yoga and tai chi
more opportunities to volunteerthrough Herefordshire Voluntary

more opportunities to play anactive role
access to Credit Union services

Make a stronger community and bring people together
organising events such as concerts, drama productions
running a lunch club for the elderly
opening a community caf
film club for children on Saturday mornings/holidays
film club for adults once amonth on a weekday evening

Make a healthier and more active community
organising physical activityprogrammes for the health andwellbeing of children and the elderly
creating opportunities for childrens play

Sure Start currently uses the building on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for the delivery of some of its childrens services. There is a full and varied programme of activities, which are becoming very popular and well attended. As part of the re-ordering, the bell-ringing chamber was refurbished to become a branch library and the Library Service has trained a team of local volunteers to run four sessions per week. This facility, which replaced the mobile library service in Peterchurch, has proved very popular with many new members joining. A community caf is open on Wednesdays from 12.30pm to 3.30 pm to enable parents with small children and babies attending the drop-in health visitors session held in the church to meet and interact with other members of the community.

Credit Union Herefordshire Money Box is present during the caf sessions and volunteers have come forward to run this enterprise which has already seen several new members register. This organisation can provide safe savings and low-cost loans for people who live and/or work in Herefordshire, including those who are elderly or have disabilities/disadvantages and cannot access traditional financial services.

Other community leisure activities include yoga, tai chi and belly dancing. A group of volunteers run the Rainbows Group and is hoping a Brownie Pack can be formed. A successful collaboration between the management committee and the Courtyard Theatre (Hereford) Education and Outreach Programme, as well as Arts Alive has seen childrens drama sessions on Saturday mornings, a production of Hamlet by the Watermill West Berkshire Playhouse and a world music concert.

We also have a film cub run by volunteers. There are two films shown on the first Saturday of each month, a matinee for children and an
evening film.

Fund-raising events during this first year have included a World Cup charity concert and a craft fayre to begin the Christmas festivities.

We continue to worship using both the nave and the chancel, with a weekday communion service on a Thursday. On Sundays, informal services alternate with communion services.

The management committee is very grateful to all those who have funded this major project which hopes to help regenerate the village and to breathe life into the historic building for generations to come.

The major funding partners for St Peters Centre are Herefordshire Councils Early Years and Extended Services; Advantage West Midlands and Herefordshire Vital LEADER Programme together with help from the National Churches Trust; Herefordshire Historic Churches Trust; Herefordshire Council Community Buildings Programme; Herefordshire Council Community Projects; Big Lottery Awards for All; Church Urban Fund; Church Community Fund; Allchurches Trust; Smiths Educational Trust; Collins Engineering; Locks Garage and other local donors.

If you would like to tell Herefordshire and Wye Valley Life readers what makes your community special contact the editor.
Email or telephone 07841493172.

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