30th April 2019 

Update from Cath Storey (Project Manager Fundraising & Communications) about the Vineyard House Project – pre-planning application, The Civic Trust and the building’s spring clean.

 Despite the Easter break and bank holidays, there’s been a lot happening. We hope everyone was able to make one of the “Come and See” events, to see inside the building, have a tour and take a good look at the wonderful boards which Stephen Dixon, the architect and Sam Lewis have produced. These are exceptional and have something for everyone in them. Not only do they detail the history of the former St Michael’s Parochial Institute and further deepen our knowledge of how the building was originally designed and how it has changed since its construction but, they also contain the specific Grade II listing descriptions and showcase original architectural drawings by George Corson. VH2-iThe boards show pictures of the building when it was used for community activities by the British Legion after WW2 and then very excitingly move on to include architectural layouts and floor plans of how we intend to remodel Vineyard House. There will be revisions to the architectural plans, opening the entrance way up more and considering building use discussions, but initial response from The Civic Trust has been very positive. They especially like the long-term aspiration to re-instate the original ceiling line and expose the ornate iron trusses. 

We are at pre-planning application stage with the Vineyard House project and the recent connection and support from The Civic Trust is welcome and in good time for the pre-planning application visit coming up in a few weeks.

Building updates 

The roof has now been fully repaired and asbestos removed from the building (apart from a small amount found in the boiler cover hut). All the fire safety checks have been done for the current use of the building and electrical safety checks will be completed this week. There will also be hot water heaters installed in the bathrooms and kitchens this week, as well as new radiators in the offices occupied by LCCT (Leeds Christian Community Trust). There is quite a lot of furniture, scrap metal and other items that need to be sorted, taken to the tip and or upcycled – a team of volunteers to do this would be most welcome. Please contact the office if you have some spare time and would like to help. 

The temporary prayer room is in use, see the Prayer Groups listed in the Small Groups Summer programme and why not check out either In the Gap or The Prayer Room? Space for prayer was one of the original “Rocks” for the project and it’s so special that this is the first element of the vision to be realised and to stand now as a blessing and provision for Vineyard House in the future. 

For those of you signed up to and or leading a small group, do remember that Vineyard House is available as a space for you to use to bless each other or the community. Just email Small Groups with any ideas and your request. 

Spring Clean day 

What a great day, everyone pulling together for a few hours and getting so much done. Phase 1 of the garden (otherwise known as a small wood!) was completed which involved a lot of clearing and our neighbour Sue was particularly delighted as we cleared the overgrown shrubs from her garden too! Four planters were made for the front of Vineyard House and the team did amazingly – thank you to all who took part in the day. 

Spring Clean Collage - small

Other project updates 

It’s great that Vineyard House is being used by the church community and others already – whilst in its current guise, but the project team are doing much behind the scenes, pressing forward with the full vision for Vineyard House. This involves considering the refurbishment costs of current architectural plans following the Quantity Surveyor report due in a couple of weeks, as well as considering feedback from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other initial funder approaches. Building use ideas need to sit well locally, have a strong business case, as well as addressing identified needs of the area. Funders state many criteria for projects like Vineyard House, some combination of: intentional use of the building; support of the project locally; demonstrating community input; showing that the financial “pump” has been “primed”; showing long-term sustainability; good governance; and often to have planning already in place. 

David & Alison Flowers will be inviting the church community to sow into this project again on 19 May (Pie Chart Sunday) at weekly worship. Please pray and think about whether you would like to give to this next key and exciting phase as we see a future harvest emerging.

Sam and I are delighted to have more of Assistant Pastor Liz Harden’s time on the Vineyard House project as of next month and we’ll be looking forward to telling you about progress as we meet each stage. There will of course, be more “Come and See events” in the future, so don’t worry if you missed the recent ones and if you have any specific questions or would like to contact Sam or me about anything relating to the Vineyard House Project, please do email us via the office.  

Cath Storey