In 2014, the parish had a condition survey done on all our buildings. At the time, we were responsible for maintaining six buildings; St Bernadette’s Chapel in Sneinton, Presbytery, Parish Centre, Sacred Heart Church, Old Catholic Club and the old church (then a nursery).
Out of these, we only used three on a regular and frequent basis. St Bernadette’s was used for two hours a week, the nursery was costing us more in maintenance and utilities than it was generating in rental income from the nursery and the tenants of the old Catholic club were a constant problem on the site.
The condition survey highlighted a number of issues with the buildings.
Discussions were had as to the future of the parish, particularly the buildings. Several points came out of these discussions.
- St Bernadette’s was no longer viable due to the low usage, condition of the building and accessibility of the site. It was also hidden away, hampering our ability to be a presence in the Sneinton community.
- The nursery needed significant investment in it to make the building safe.
- The parish centre was not big enough to allow us to have parish gatherings and hire it out for external users.
- The parish needed to go through a process at the end of which we had a main church (Sacred Heart) with improved facilities, a presbytery for a priest to live in and a parish centre to meet our needs. It was also clear that we needed to maintain a presence in Sneinton if at all possible.
Over the past three years, lots has happened.
- St Bernadette’s; After a long consultation period, we closed St Bernadette’s. The final Mass was on 26th February 2017, celebrated by Bishop Patrick.
- The next weekend, we began celebrating Sunday morning Mass in Sneinton in St Christopher’s Anglican Church. Rev Naomi and the congregation welcomed us and we have settled in well. It means that we have a presence in Sneinton and can continue to serve the community.
- St Bernadette’s was sold for £360,000 and continues as a place of worship for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association.
- Old church; in September 2016, the nursery that had been renting the old church off us decided to move out. After consulting professionals, it was decided that we needed to sell the building, but that could only be done by selling the presbytery at the same time, so intertwined are the two buildings. Currently, May 2018, it is on the market for offers in the region of £275,000 and has attracted lots of interest.
- Old Catholic Club; in February 2016, the Powerhouse Gym renting the upstairs closed down and in January 2018, The Dog House occupying the downstairs was evicted because of non-payment of rent. Currently, May 2018, plans are in place to demolish the building to make way for a new parish centre.
- Sacred Heart Church; we identified two issues with the building. There was no toilet for use except in the parish centre and if your child needed some ‘time out’ during a service, there was nowhere to go except outside. This is being remedied (May 2018) by adding a small extension to the side of the church to provide a disabled access toilet and a small room (St Bernadette’s Room) with a window on to the main body of the church.
- Presbytery; in order to facilitate the sale of the presbytery, the parish purchased a house on Chesterfield Street and Fr Joe moved in there in January 2018. It is 40 seconds walk from the church!
What does the future hold?
When the presbtery and old church are sold, this will give us the capital we need to build a new parish centre on the site of the old Catholic club.
Once that is built, the current parish centre will be refurbished to provide a two bedroom bungalow as a presbytery.
Once that is completed, the house on Chesterfield Street will be sold to close the gap in the funds.
So the parish should, by the end of 2019 hopefully, have a toilet and meeting room off the church, a new parish centre and a new presbytery.
What can you do to help this development? Be generous with your prayers and your financial support of the parish.