Joy over new community building

AN OASIS in the desert – that's how the new community building at Bramford Road Methodist Church has been described.The building, which was officially due to open today , completes a five year project costing the church more than £1.

AN OASIS in the desert – that's how the new community building at Bramford Road Methodist Church has been described.

The building, which was officially due to open today , completes a five year project costing the church more than £1.2 million.

And the money has been raised entirely through fundraising and donations, with only £25,000 still to be found.

John Cobbold, project manager, said: "We are overwhelmed with the way people have supported us and hope to raise the remaining money by the end of the year."

The project was launched when original plans to refurbish the church were discussed with the managing trustees.

They decided to extend the project to the community, providing an all-inclusive resource for the people of Ipswich.

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A questionnaire was sent out to residents in the Bramford area with the help of Ipswich Borough Council, and the results indicated that 98 per cent were in favour of the project.

It also provided suggestions of what people wanted – a facility, which would include computer access, art classes, sports' facilities, a car park and a playing field.

Mr Cobbold added: "Our challenge now is to take this into the community and provide a place where people can meet, plan, celebrate and relax.

"It will be connected with the church's ethics, morals and beliefs but anyone can come regardless of their race, colour, age or faith.

"We want this to be a church without walls, we don't want it built up so that no-one can see inside."

The community building is now looking for a group of volunteers who can maintain and assist with everything from art classes to carpet bowls and basketball.

Volunteer organiser, Terry Reynolds said: "We want any people with any skills they can offer. They don't have to go to the church or be a member of the church, they will be helping others and helping the community."

The community building also needs vital resources in order to run. Tables, desks and chairs are required, as well as computers.

The computer suite currently has ten PCs donated by Suffolk College and the internet is also available but desks and further computers would benefit plans to hold computer classes.

During the course of building, the church's foundation stone was removed to reveal a copy of the East Anglian Daily Times and a drawing of the church as it was 100 years ago.

Remarkably, the plans for the community building and the finished development almost replicate the church of 1902.

These plans, along with current information, the original newspaper and a copy of the Evening Star was due to be placed in a time capsule in the wall of the building at the official opening.

Anyone wishing to find out more information about the can visit the church's website, www.br-mc.org.uk.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at the centre please contact Terry Reynolds on 01473 404134 or email celbrate@br-mc.org.uk.

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