Leeds Vineyard

Vineyard House blog Phase II 

Cath-and-Sam-photosUpdates from the Project Managers - Sam Lewis and Cath Storey - about Vineyard House [Phase II], the project planning for current building use, design and architectural plans for renovation, fundraising, community engagement, refurbishment work and commissioning for Kingdom ministry. 



17th February 2020 

Update from Sam Lewis (Project Manager) about our Planning Application for Vineyard House

In September 2019 we submitted our planning application for Vineyard House, and just before Christmas we found out that our application had been successful. This is an amazing answer to prayer, we've reached another huge milestone for the project!

The planning permission comes with conditions (expected for a listed building), which require us to submit more detailed plans for particular aspects of the project, ensuring that the work to transform Vineyard House is done in a sensitive way that is in keeping with the original architecture as it is carefully restored.

The project will see the beautiful grade II listed St Michael’s Hall building, transformed into a brilliant new community space with meeting spaces, a large venue space, offices, and a prayer room. It will provide lots of room for kids and youth activities, as well as providing a base for the church’s growing number of compassion ministries.

What’s Next?

We are looking to renovate Vineyard House in phases. We have already started working on plans for Phase 1 which, now that planning permission has been granted, we will look to progress further.

There are a number of items requiring our immediate attention to improve the safety, security and comfort of those currently using the building. Stephen (our brilliant architect) and I will be working together over the next few months to address some of these issues, and to look at the possibility of replacing the three windows in the large ground floor meeting room at the back of the building.

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We’ve recently set up a light, so that each evening the stained glass window at the front of the building is illuminated and the light from Vineyard House shines out in the darkness.

Where are we with funding?

Cath has been working behind the scenes with FutureKraft, a fundraising consultancy firm who strategically advise faith-based community projects and whose input to the project is grant funded. The outputs of this work have been a Community Scoping and Consultation Report which highlights and substantiates the need in the area and potential gaps in provision.

We have captured the current impact of the church’s current activities and uncovered the rich history of Vineyard House to help us reconnect, tell the story and build the legacy of the building’s purpose for generations to come.

Heritage - Memories Poster - A

Cath has built up relationships with local historians and a mini social history project is about to go live with the help of church members – we hope this will be a great way to engage with our neighbourhood and that there will be many interesting conversations to come from it. Another key piece of work that we’ve been doing with FutureKraft is around Identity and messaging for Vineyard House and how that might be aligned to the church’s vision and expression of compassion. We are also well on with the business plan for the project which is key for the case we take to funders for Phase 1 shortly.


After having an explore for the first time, Alex Harbour, one of our former students says: “The other day, David showed me around all of Vineyard House in its fullness for the first time, explaining what each area is to become as we went along. The image that was created wasn’t merely of bricks and mortar, but instead of all the people who would visit the building. I could sense the atmosphere that would permeate the building; a place of relationship and connection, a dynamic place full of energy and life, a refuge for the homeless and the lonely. I was struck by the sense that if Vineyard House is to become all that it could become, Headingley would have to change. Its reach into the community would change its heart and it would be a Kingdom transformation. I can’t help but hunger after this picture of how our community in Headingley could be impacted through Vineyard House. It truly is the pearl of great price.”

Keep reading our blog updates to find out more, and join us at our next community event that we'll let you know more about in our next blog update. In the meantime we welcome your prayer support as we prepare the ground for our funding applications.

If you would like to contact Cath or me about anything relating to the Vineyard House Project, please do email us via the office.
Sam Lewis

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6th December 2019 

Update from David Flowers

A surprised but smiling elderly face looked up at me out of the Bennett Road darkness as I opened the door to welcome representatives from local churches. This was the first time that the Vineyard had hosted the Churches Together in Headingley meeting and they were served with delicious cake and hot drinks and sat on the couches in the studio. “Ooh” she said, “I was in a play here once!”. It turned out that Joan had been a regular visitor to Vineyard House some 50 plus years ago (when it was known as the St Michael’s Parochial Institute).

“I like what you’ve done with it!” she offered. I don’t think she meant it. I tried to explain that apart from putting in the signs and planters out at the front and getting the heating working - most of our effort had been in clearing the garden and tidying out the rubbish. Azad and co have decorated a room which has been turned into our Prayer Room and Sam, Liz and their teams have done an awesome job at making the Studio functional. But, to be honest, although I wasn’t able to explain this to them all, it is amazing that the teams have got as much working as they have. This is because our plans will need a radical transformation of the building. One which will restore it not only to what it was like 50 years ago but in many ways back to what it was like 100 years ago (but with warmth and proper loos!).

But what has struck me again and again is the amount of love coming toward us as we bring this iconic old building back into use and, crucially, back into a use which resonates with its original purpose.

I believe the Lord is saying that as we reach deeper into the heritage of Vineyard House we are strengthening the roots to allow the tree to grow correspondingly tall, into the future – into a healthy, leafy, fruitful future.

I want you to imagine the conversations that will be taking in place in 10 years’ time or 50 years’ time: “That was where someone explained how much Jesus loved me and I gave my life to Him”, “That was where I was rescued from my loneliness as a student because it was a safe place to go to at night – I wouldn’t have got through Uni without it”, “That was where I knew my elderly father had friends and a welcome in his final years”, “That was where I was able to escape into a safe community as I struggled through my teens”, “That was where I learnt: to weave and crochet; to play the guitar; cook proper food; all about Jesus at an Alpha Course ….”

Many of us have given sacrificially to funding the purchase of Vineyard House, this pearl of great price. Others have given their time and energy. We are sowing deeply and thoroughly, and one day we will see crops. We’re getting glimpses of the first fruit but are learning how to wait for the full yield. 

Hannah tells me that even now Vineyard House is being well used: to start with as daytime offices for Leeds Vineyard, Leeds Christian Community Trust and Unity in Poverty Action. The Prayer Room is regularly occupied by individuals and groups. Other small groups using Vineyard House are: Doing Life Together; Sanctuary; In The Gap; Servant Leadership School; Headingley Small Group; Student Bible Study; Let food be thy medicine; Men’s Breakfast; Oasis; Vineyard Training and, next term, Alpha!
Adoration Collage

Setting up the Studio room for Adoration

T4:12 are enjoying Vineyard House on Sunday mornings & evenings and students use it as a study lounge. We hold leaders’ meeting there.

There have been one-off meetings with Churches Together and the ministers in Headingley. And in the next few weeks we’ll be hosting the Child Contact Centre Coffee Morning and then Christmas in the Lounge

So, although we have a holy ambition for much, much more – let us be patient, be generous, be prayerful. There is a great and rich harvest to come. 

The Lord has promised that we can all play our part and future generations will tell the story. The roots are growing deep and the tree will grow tall.



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14th November 2019 

Update from Sam Lewis (Project Manager) about our Planning Application for Vineyard House 

Last month we submitted the planning application for Vineyard House. This is another key milestone for this amazing project, which will see the beautiful grade II listed St Michael’s Hall building, transformed into a brilliant new community space.

Vineyard House will have meeting spaces, a large venue space, offices, and a prayer room. It will provide a space for kids and youth activities, as well as providing a base for the church’s growing number of compassion ministries.

Image 1

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The formal planning application for Vineyard House marks the end of the work that Stephen Dixon (Architect) and the Project Team have been doing to research the history of the building and come up with ideas, concepts and outline designs for the refurbishment. With input from experts and a period of community consultation and engagement these designs were updated and refined, and around Easter 2019 we submitted our pre-planning application for Vineyard House.

Further updates followed, along with more detailed designs, and last month we submitted our planning application to Leeds Council – click here to view, and enter the planning application number 19/06075/LI.

What’s Next?

We welcome prayers for the planning process as it goes through the various departments of Leeds City Council, for positive discussions on any points raised and ultimately for a positive outcome. 

We are looking to renovate Vineyard House in phases. We have already started working on plans for Phase 1, which we hope to progress further once planning permission has been granted. Keep reading our blog updates to find out more.

If you would like to contact Cath or me about anything relating to the Vineyard House Project, please do email us via the office.

Sam Lewis

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30th September 2019 

Update from Cath Storey (Project Manager Fundraising & Communications) about the Vineyard House project – planning, phasing, the funding team and your support. 

The project team have regrouped after the summer break and we have lots of news to share with you. As David mentioned in his blog on the 24th, Sam and I presented to the trustees last week and mapped out progress from the last year or so and walked through key decisions that have been made and the next steps for the project. The challenge is a big one as David wrote, but both Sam and I feel very privileged to be working on shaping and developing how Vineyard House stands as a resource for ministry for decades to come. Here are also what three of the trustees have said following the recent meeting;


“As the Trustee who oversaw the purchase of St Michaels Hall, getting to a position where we could use the building as soon as possible was really important to me. I’m really excited to see the great progress made so far; the plans for refurbishment look great and will provide fantastic spaces from which we can run lots of different activities, all with the aim of blessing Headingley and extending God’s Kingdom to the local community and beyond.” Steve Nixon


“I’m excited by the way Vineyard House will provide focus and support to grow our compassion and reach out work in Headingley. As Chair of Trustees I’m encouraged by the energy and dynamism of the team and impressed with how far we have come in developing the plans. It is humbling to be part of such an exciting project which will have such a positive impact both inside and outside the Church.” Mike Byde

"As trustee for people, I am delighted with the progress made especially by Sam and Cath utilising their and others knowledge to get us to this stage in the programme/project. It is great as a trustee to know that the approach is being developed by experts that have a track record of delivering projects of this size and complexity. The plans we have submitted seek to preserve the heritage of the building whilst making it fit for purpose to meet the needs of Headingley. As plans are submitted it is clear to me how much of an incredible blessing this building will be as we seek to see God's Kingdom come in Headingley."  Tim Steere


Sam and Stephen from Calls Architecture have done a brilliant job in getting the project to a formal planning application stage; revising concepts and drawings, researching the history of the former Parochial Institute in terms of location, context, how the building has been modified over the years, existing fabric and condition, design, access and heritage impact assessments are all contents of a Design and Access Statement document which forms the planning application. 

A Statement of Community Involvement has also been submitted. We welcome prayers for the planning process as it goes through the various departments of Leeds City Council, for positive discussions on any points raised and ultimately for a positive outcome. We hope to be granted planning towards the end of this year. 

Here are some inspiring artists’ impressions that Stephen has produced as part of the concept and design stage. 

Phase Mock Ups Collage

As well as getting the project to a point where we can apply for planning, employing a quantity surveyor has meant we have gained a better understanding of costs. That said, there is more work to do on costs for the project as we look to do a value engineering exercise (reducing costs while maintaining or improving quality requirements). 

Furthermore, over the summer months, we were blessed with advice and wisdom from a third-party consultant on both the building and funding process side. As the project is a bigger challenge than ever imagined, the experience and council from FutureKraft has been most welcome and has led to the project team and trustees agreeing on project phasing. 

What does that mean? It means breaking down the Vineyard House project into specific refurbishment milestones and once each phase is reached, progressing onto the next one. Some phases can and might be divided into sub-phases. It’s a great way of getting started on the project in bite-sized chunks as it were, giving us a realistic chance of delivering and considering cost vs benefits and the resources we have. 

Phase 1 can be done whilst still utilising the current office space and will be the redevelopment of the Annexe Space. Sam or I can share more details about the project phasing in future blogs. Of course, please feel free to email Sam if you would like more specific information. 

Vineyard House - Sept 2019 V6

Funding and the funding team

The process to unlock funding on a capital appeal of this size involves lots of questions and many stages. We have the answers to many of these questions, but there are some we are still working on. We have been encouraged recently with a grant from the Lottery Awards for All fund which will help us move forward and strengthen our Case for Support. This is our compelling argument as to why anyone should support the Vineyard House Capital Appeal - it’s a big picture document that we take to market as it were to secure funding. 

The funding landscape is competitive, and competition is regional. We must demonstrate why Leeds Vineyard are best placed to be bringing the former St. Michael’s Hall back to life, how we are going to meet funder requirements, the research or consultation that has informed our plans, how the project will improve people’s lives and how we will measure the impact and expected outcomes. 

The heritage and story of the building’s impact in the community since Victorian times is a strong narrative. The grant we have been awarded will address some of the gaps we have in information to date and appraise options for the strategic development of Vineyard House ensuring the projects long term economic viability. It’s good news that we have secured funds to widen the funding team and I’m looking forward to working with FutureKraft on the following;  

  • Reviewing community consultation work done to date
  • Following up community consultation with further research and questionnaires 
  • Discovering the history of Vineyard House to build the legacy 
  • Producing videos to engage people with the history and the vision 
  • Clarifying messages for the marketing strategy 
  • Aligning vision to funders’ criteria 
  • Developing clear impact measures 
  • Developing the business plan which underpins the funding strategy  

We are delighted to have input from Liz Harden, supporting the funding team and funding process - her work engaging and building relationships in the community feeds directly into the business plan. There’s much to do and we have various timescales on all the above, culminating in a community wide event in the Spring of next year. 

VH Headingley Flyer - Final -

How can you support the project at this stage? 

Prayers for the project team as we work through the various actions, each leading to further stages is most welcome and there will be many opportunities to assist with clearing, painting, general maintenance in Vineyard House itself. I know some of the Mancraft team had fun on Tuesday last week moving furniture into the basement and many from the church are doing all they can to help when asked. We will be needing a team from the church to carry out an up to date door-to-door survey next month, so look out for that and please sign up if you can.

If you would like to contact Sam or me about anything relating to the Vineyard House Project, please do email us via the office.

Cath Storey

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20th August 2019 

Update from Liz Harden (Assistant Pastor) about Vineyard House - office news latest, community links, next steps and our excitement for the time ahead. 

Office Update 

It is official – the church office has relocated from North Lane and is now established in Vineyard House. The staff have enjoyed settling into their new home and start each week by worshipping together. 

It has been a relatively smooth transition with the new office home proving to be a blessing in many ways. 

The staff are enjoying the company of Leeds Christian Community Trust (LCCT) and Unity Poverty Action (UPA) and the many opportunities we get to cross paths with neighbours and the community of Headingley passing up and down Bennett Road. Increasingly, people introduce themselves and ask questions – many wanting to visit the building and look at the plans. 

Interestingly, it is becoming apparent that many are relieved to see that we have no plans to turn the building into flats and wish to preserve the many beautiful features of the original building. The general attitude has been very positive and encouraging. 

Now that the office has moved, with only large furniture still to be shifted, our attentions are turning towards making changes to the studio to make it fit for use as a large meeting space. The electrics need to be completed and it needs painting to make the room useable. We are still in the process of clearing things left behind by the previous owners. We'd love some help with clearing stuff out so please contact the office and see how you might assist.



Photo by Murray McEwan

Community connections and enquiries 

With the new boards being erected outside Vineyard House, we have seen an increase in interest and excitement about our project. As I meet with community individuals and representatives, it is clear many would like to partner and work with us in serving the people of Headingley. 

We have had requests to host school reunions from people who remember doing their PE lessons in the main hall upstairs. A number have approached us with ideas for community days and exhibitions. Others enquire about running fitness, dance and theatre classes for all age groups. 

We have also been approached by several contacts to see if we will enable additional language courses to be run from Vineyard House. There seems to be a high demand for this. 

We are also excited that groups supporting: the elderly; vulnerable adults; children; youth; students; as well as people with additional, complex and mental health needs - have all expressed a desire to use the building. This is all exciting and we will need to be hearing the voice of Jesus amongst the requests and discern how we best use Vineyard House to minister to a community while introducing them to Jesus. 

We already have great community support and involvement in Vineyard House and we look forward to seeing how this all unfolds in the years to come and beyond.

Architect’s Support

It is fair to say we have all been impressed by Stephen Dixon’s (Calls Architecture) commitment to understanding our vision and dreams for Vineyard House. 

We recently discovered Stephen is also a children’s book author. Having written The Gingerbread Man 2, Stephen very kindly donated a personalised copy to the Child Contact Centre. Elaine and the children were hugely grateful for this fun and entertaining story. Thank you Stephen.

Gingerbread Man

Vineyard House Building Project

The time when Vineyard House was last used by the community is well remembered and revered and an element of the project will be to recall this and tell this story whilst at the same time looking to the future and to building new relationships. As we have drilled down into more detailed costings for the renovation of Vineyard House it has become clear that the final will be several times what we originally thought. Just before the summer break we were very encouraged to be introduced to a third party company from whom the project team and trustees can draw significant wisdom and expertise. We will be updating you on plans for the phasing and timings of key project milestones as they are approved by the trustees.

Vineyard House 

It is very exciting to see that the vision we have been given for Vineyard House sits so well within the residents' heart for the community. We have been greatly encouraged by how enthused the community are on our behalf. It feels as though we are stewards of a heritage which local people long to see brought back to life. To use the building again and to see it used to serve people and build strong community again. This is particularly heartening as we long to see Jesus central to this story of strengthening community in Headingley. 

We are looking forward to seeing how this develops and that relationships will be strengthened as we fulfil the call upon us ‘to restore the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated.’

Liz Harden

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27th June 2019 

Update from Cath Storey (Project Manager Fundraising & Communications) about Vineyard House – our office move, what’s God telling us, planning for the long-term vision and a joint event with friends. 

Next week sees the Leeds Vineyard church office move into Vineyard House - it’s very exciting and if anyone could lend a hand on Monday 1st July for some of the move, and possibly on other days, then please contact the office and let us know. It may take us a few days to get up and running, but it’s a sensible economic decision in the short term for our office to be based in Vineyard House and we look forward to having more of a personal presence locally as we come and go into the building.


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Prayer space in Vineyard House 

We featured pictures of the prayer space in last month’s blog and it’s wonderful to report on the gradual momentum that is building for this important space within Vineyard House. ‘In the Gap’, ‘Prayer Room’ and ‘Adoration’ groups are all meeting regularly to pray and worship. Anne Buchan, Assistant Pastor has said about these groups;  

“In our prayer times there has been a sense that God is refining us and working on our hearts as we learn to trust him on this faith journey. We have also been very aware of his compassion for the people of Headingley and his desire for Vineyard House to be a place where they can find hope. During the worship evening as part of ‘Adoration’, we have had a wonderful sense of his glory and power. We believe this is going to be increasingly evident to those living in Headingley as He uses us to minister to them through the projects that will run from Vineyard House.” 

We look forward to the months ahead as the team take residence in Vineyard House and to opening the prayer room up at designated times of the week, so people can drop in and take time to pray. Watch this space for more details and please do come along. 

Harvest Thanksgiving Service  

What a wonderful service, there was a real sense of togetherness, and I look forward to gathering all the responses and prayers for the Vineyard House project, especially those from our young people. Thank you to all those that have already sowed into the Vineyard House project and to those who have helped most recently in raising a further £80,000. This is tremendous, and I can say with authority following consultation with fellow fund seeking colleagues for projects such as ours, it really will stand as testimony to demonstrate the breadth of heart and commitment we as a church community have for the long-term Kingdom endeavour that the project stands for. Anne Buchan has reflected more on the prayer for STEPS recently and has commended that “it feels as if God is deepening our sense of being community as we give; this is not about what any individual can achieve, but about what God is releasing us to do collectively.” 

Planning update  

As you may have read in previous blogs, outline building plans have been developed for Vineyard House and in March a pre-planning application was made to Leeds City Council. Initial indications are that overall, the planning department are positive towards what we are seeking to do with Vineyard House, which is great news. The next stage will be for us to develop more detailed plans, ready to make a full planning application at the beginning of August. We hope you have had a chance to see the architectural concepts on the boards for yourselves during a come and see event in the building, if not, there will be further opportunities to do so coming up and you can also find them on the website in the Vineyard House specific web pages. 

Joint event with friends and residents of Becketts Park

Beckett Picnic in the Park

As you may have seen on the Leeds Vineyard Facebook page, we're excited to be joining in with the Beckett Park 'Picnic in the Park' on Sunday 7th July. There'll be live music, games, stalls - lots of fun for all ages. We look forward to seeing you there. We also look forward to talking more about all the relationships that are being fostered and developed locally.  

If you would like to contact Sam or me about anything relating to the Vineyard House Project, please do email us via the office.  

Cath Storey



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31st May 2019 

Update from Cath Storey (Project Manager Fundraising & Communications) about the Vineyard House Project – planning, support from our local councillor and prayer.

Sam Lewis has been progressing with the plans for Vineyard House with the various stages involved in securing planning approval and has had a positive response from an initial meeting with the council’s conservation personnel. Work is progressing with the quantity surveyor’s input for the project and the architectural concepts are now on the website together with the original George Corson drawings of the building. These are a great addition to the History page.

Civic Trust LogoThe project has secured support from The Civic Trust which is great and in fact we were pleased to receive a letter with the following comments…”the committee welcomed the scheme as an appropriate development which would bring life back into this historic building. We felt the design made good use of the existing features and we could see the ‘logic’ of the alterations proposed. We also commended the quality of the Design and Access Statement and the supporting material – this should be used as an example by other project architects and developers”.

We are also thrilled to have Cllr Al Garthwaite’s support for the project and it was wonderful that she was able to come along to the launch of STEPS 2019 and share her thoughts. Al shared how the local councillors had been made particularly aware of the need for mental health work, support for street users and resources for asylum seekers. She also mentioned that there was a need for more buildings with a Vision such as we have for Vineyard House, offering something different. She is delighted to give her full support to the project.

Kingdom endeavour

The plans and full vision for Vineyard House is a Kingdom endeavour and STEPS 2019 was launched on the 19th May as we invite you to sow into the Vineyard House project. This is a great opportunity to be part of the journey, for those of you who are new to Leeds Vineyard and want to now come alongside the vision or for those who were unable to give last time and would love to do so now. We need a Kingdom-sized release of funding for this project. When we can demonstrate that individual giving has already been secured for the project together with community support we can meet key funding criteria and build up a portfolio of funders walking alongside us.

Prayer space

Our very first priority for Vineyard House is for it to be a place of Prayer. We have incorporated this in the architect’s plans and indeed have already started using one of the available rooms as a place for regular prayer.

Prayer Room Collage 2

At this stage some of our prayer is for the building itself. We intend that Vineyard House will become a place where, by virtue of prayer and worship, there will be a tangible sense of the Spirit of God. The Vineyard House project was conceived through prayer and vision and we are grateful for all the prayers, words and pictures of encouragement for the project to date, do keep them coming. As the prayer room gets used more and more, we look forward to sharing about how our focus and dedication to prayer helps shine a light on the full aspirations for the building.

Come and See events

We are running more Come and See events for those of you who haven’t had a chance to explore inside Vineyard House yet, to enjoy a guided tour of the building and have an opportunity to ask the team specific questions. Keep an eye on the website and announcements for future dates.

If you have any specific questions in the meantime 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



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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



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28th March 2019 

Update from Cath Storey (Project Manager Fundraising & Communications) about Vineyard House Project – meeting our neighbours, a “Spring Clean day" and other dates for your diary.

On the afternoon of Sunday 24th March, we opened the doors and welcomed people from the local community into Vineyard House – at least 30 came in total over the two hours, so a great start for this type of event for the project. Thank you to all those who helped with set up, supplying cakes, serving teas and coffees, creating a warm and positive atmosphere and who contributed to the overall success of the event.

Stephen Dixon from Calls Architecture has worked with Sam Lewis to produce some exceptional boards which became an amazing focal point for the event. These detail the building’s heritage and show floor plans, original drawings of the building by George Corson and subsequent revisions and extensions to those plans done in 1893 by Chorley and Cannon of Leeds.

The boards then go onto outline the building with photos and floor plans of how the building was used after World War 2, when it was part occupied by The British Legion and showing how rooms were used for various community activities. The remaining four boards then take the reader on a journey with pictures and descriptions and are each titled “Towards a vision”.

Once the neighbours had had a chance to digest all the information boards and after a short welcome from David & Alison, Sam took individual groups on a tour of the building.

The information boards will remain as a permanent fixture in Vineyard House for the foreseeable future and will be available to see at the forthcoming Vineyard House “Come and See” sessions for the church community, please see below for dates.  

We also welcomed Cllr Al Garthwaite, friends from Heart and a representative from the Headingley Neighbourhood Plan. Here is some initial feedback from visitors;

“It is great that you are considering the needs of the community. We look forward to watching your plans come to fruition”.

 “Absolutely amazing – great space.”

“I think it will be an important addition to the community.”

Amazing! God ordained! Well done!

Open Afternoon Collage 2 - sma

“Spring Clean” day – Saturday 13th April 9am – 1pm
This is a half-day session for those of you (adults only) who would love to get stuck in with practical tasks and enjoy a spot of gardening, clearing, painting, working with wood or just cleaning up and filling a skip. We will need some people to make cups of tea too. Please contact the office on 0113 230 2139 if you are able to help, it would be good for us to know the number of people coming.

As we have done this last Sunday afternoon, we are planning on opening Vineyard House again for some “Come and See” events for those Leeds Vineyard people who haven’t been able to catch any of our events yet:

The dates to choose from are as follows;

  • Friday 5th April (afternoon session 12.30pm - 2pm)
  • Tuesday 16th April (evening session 8pm - 9.30pm)
  • Sunday 28th April (afternoon session following church 1pm - 2.30pm)


David and some of the team will be around to chat and explain where we have got to. During the day-time events we’ll be able to have a guided tour of the 1st floor as well (it’s too dark in the evening).

We hope there is enough choice in the above three days and timings to suit most people. Please feel free to bring children and other family members along. Please note that there won’t be any refreshments available during the above sessions.

If you would like to contact Sam or me about anything relating to the Vineyard House Project, please do email us via the office.

Cath Storey



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28th February 2019 

Update from Cath Storey (Project Manager Fundraising & Communications) about Vineyard House Project – visual identity, personal stories and being good neighbours.

Last month’s blog was a bit of a “bumper” one, it’s such a privilege to uncover and share information about the rich history of the time the building was St Michael’s Parochial Institute. We will have a section on the project website very soon which will include interesting facts and stories about the building as it has been in the past. Connecting with the building’s past story and setting the historical context is important not only for Leeds Vineyard church as we are now custodians of the building but also for the wider community who remember a time when they enjoyed using the building. We want to hear and record these memories and honour them, as well as looking to the future and breathing new life into the building for the Kingdom of God. 

You may be interested to read the following story from the building’s past shared by Leslie Bennett, Alison Flowers’ father…

In the 1930’s Vineyard House, or St Michael’s Parochial Institute as it was originally known, was a rather anonymous building set back from the road as I walked between Headingley and my home in Langdale gardens. In fact, I was more aware of the sweet shop next door where my gang would buy Little Demons, Jumping Crackers and Golden Rain fireworks (a penny each) as well as Liquorice Sticks, Mint Imperials and Palm Toffee.

We called it the Bennett Road Institute and I do remember performing there in 1933 when I was 9 years old and attending St Michael’s Primary School. I had the lead part as a lad called Oliver in AA Milne’s Make Believe, a children’s fantasy about pirates, Father Christmas and princesses. Watched by my parents I performed well enough to gain the reward of a big box of toffees at the end of the show. I think the girl lead was Mary Withy playing the part of Wendy. I remember her being a sweet lass who lived in Headingley Crescent just around the corner from South Parade Chapel.


You may have seen that there is now a logo for Vineyard House. It’s very exciting for the project to have its own logo and brand identity now, thanks to the work of Andrew Flowers, (David’s brother). The brief was for the visual identity to firstly communicate a feeling of ‘welcome’, which is created by the curved, natural shapes reflected in the logo, but to also convey a message of ‘transformation’. With a large, and what could be considered “imposing” building, it is important for the logo to extend warmth and acceptance, so that people feel able to come, and want to come, through the doors.  

One of the things we love about the logo is that different people see different images - they can interpret it with their own lens. The identity is purposefully linked to the Leeds Vineyard branding, so everyone can instantly recognise Leeds Vineyard as the community of faith which owns and runs the Vineyard House project.

Signage Mock Up v blog

Here’s how the logo looks on a mock up on external signs which will be in place soon. By the end of March, there will be clear project signage communicating that Leeds Vineyard has taken ownership of the building and pointing people to our website to find out more.  


Open afternoon for neighbours 
This is being held on Sunday 24th March from 3pm and we are really looking forward to opening the building up to local residents, offering them the opportunity to get to know us, for us to share our plans and vision for Vineyard House, to provide tours of the building and to open the floor to questions as well as having an opportunity to hear their views. 
We will be holding more open afternoons or evenings, as the clocks go forward, to share our vision and plans for those people of Leeds Vineyard who haven’t yet been able to attend previous events we’ve held at Vineyard House. 

Other project updates and work going on behind the scenes includes Sam managing the work to make the inside of the building safe for future renovation work once funds are in place, as well as getting a team of volunteers together to focus on tidying up the outside of the building and making it appear more welcoming using greenery and planting. Sam is also working closely with the architect and project team on various iterations of the architect’s plans to reflect the usable space we require in the building and then moving to provide more detailed renovation and refurbishment costings, as well as looking at business and income flow for the project. This then feeds into funding applications for the capital fundraising to raise the funds to renovate and refurbish the building for use.

If you would like to contact Sam or me about anything relating to the Vineyard House Project, please do email us via the office. If you learn of an amazing story or connection from the building’s past, we would love to hear from you.

Cath Storey



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28th January 2019 

Update from Cath Storey (Project Manager Fundraising & Communications) about Vineyard House Phase II – we’ve got the keys celebration, it’s a George Corson building, and we have an abundant history to connect with as we forge ahead into the new year!

On Monday 10th December last year we marked a very special time in the life of Leeds Vineyard with an evening of thanks, celebration and prayer. Thank you to all who attended, the Facebook post said it all; “We’re thanking God for bringing us to this point, and we’re looking forward with expectancy and excitement for all He will unlock in us and in our community.”

Keys to Vineyard House Party -

The last time the building had people from the community dedicating and praying over it was during the Laying of the Corner Stone proceedings by the then Major of Leeds back in July 1883, one hundred and thirty-six years ago, during Queen Victoria’s reign. According to the Order of Proceedings for the stone laying, there were prayers, an address by the Mayor, a vote of thanks and a Hymn – I wonder which one?

More recently, the project team and staff have been getting rather excited as we uncover Vineyard House’s rich heritage as well as firming up what we feel God is telling us to do with the building. Stephen Dixon from Calls Architecture has been appointed as our architect. Stephen is the Principal Director and is registered as a Conservation Architect. Sam Lewis, my project other-half, is enjoying working with him and together they are well on the way with building requirement documents and drafts of layout options to present to the project team, trustees and leadership team, as well as spending time delving into the archives.

History of the building and its architect George Corson

George Corson architectA previous building for the Parish meetings rooms had existed, but the site was sold in 1875 and demolished. A new building, known as The Parochial Institute was constructed by George Corson in 1884. George Corson, born in Dumfries in 1829, came to Leeds in 1849 and by 1860 had his own Architectural practice. He was responsible for some of the most impressive municipal buildings of the Victorian era in the city of Leeds – including the magnificent Grand Theatre and the Central Library building with its spectacular Tiled Hall. He won some of the most important recognisable public commissions in Leeds including Roundhay Park (1873), School Board offices (1876) and the Leeds Infirmary extension (1891) and became the first president of the Leeds Architectural Society which he founded in 1976. Corson lived in Headingley where he died in 1910 aged 81.

According to the West Yorkshire Archive Service, the “objects of the proposed Institute” were: -

  1. To give opportunities in the evening for self-improvement and wholesome recreation to the young men of the Parish. 
  2. To supply Class Rooms, which may be used for various educational and other purposes connected with the work of the Parish, both on Sundays and Week-days.
  3. To provide a Reading Room, with daily papers and periodicals, which may be open throughout the day for the use of all classes of Subscribers.
  4. To meet a want which has long been felt in Headingley, in the shape of a large and convenient Room for Public Entertainments, and Meetings of all Political and Religious parties, at a moderate charge.

We also learnt that:
The site, and £550 resulting from the sale of the old Glebe School, have, with the consent of the Charity Commissioners, been applied to this purpose, and Subscriptions amounting to £600 have been received.
Further Subscriptions are much needed, and in order to raise the total sum required, it is proposed to hold a GRAND BAZAAR in the large room as soon as it is completed.

Many Ladies have already promised to take Stalls, and full particulars will be shortly announced.

After World War 2 (c. Sept 1946) the British Legion occupied part of the building, other rooms were used for various community activities and in 1984 it was sold and converted into offices.

Wow, not sure we would get to our fundraising target with a “bring and buy” sale! We will be updating the website with more interesting facts and stories from the building’s rich past as soon as we can – original architectural drawings with George Corson’s signature on are inspiring for history buffs and us alike to see, but there is a cost for public release. A huge thanks must go to our very own history student extraordinaire – Eva Rogers - who has helped gather information from the University Library collection for us to use on the website and for funding bids.  

Project specific update

 As mentioned in Church last Sunday, the project has made strong and meaningful connections locally with a few more meetings to arrange. WeIMG0380 for Blog also have work to do in terms of being good neighbours and sharing our plans with those who live nearby. In terms of our work which will feed into funding bids, the following are all being worked on: Case for Support documents for each of the known project areas which detail aims, objectives, people, resources, growth, budget, marketing ideas, and how it sits in the market place, as well as gathering evidence to support the need for projects; a Statement of Significance (Heritage) for the building together with business plans for year one and beyond once the capital revenue (money for the building’s renovation) has been spent.

Vineyard House is shaping up around the following named spaces; 

  1. The Workspace – the business component taking up about 1/3rd of the ground floor;
  2. The Living Room – the communal space, multi-functional/pop-up style, taking up most of the ground floor (this is where the Child Contact Centre may be based;
  3. The Venue – hosting events and large groups, children & youth work, community events and taking up most of the top floor;
  4. The Sanctuary – specially equipped classrooms and safe place with laundry, showers, clinic etc. this will take up about a quarter of the top floor. 

Not too dissimilar to the building’s past, new life will be breathed into it enabling the building to stand proud as an iconic space for the community once more. I think George Corson and those connected with the building’s past would be pleased.  

If you would like to champion a specific project, do get in touch and if you would like to contact Sam or me about anything relating to the Vineyard House Project Phase II, please do email us via the office.

Cath Storey

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3rd December 2018

Update from Sam Lewis (Project Manager) about Vineyard House Phase II - getting the keys, appointing architects and creating a fundraising strategy.

On Monday 10th of December we get the keys to Vineyard House! Join us that evening as we gather at Vineyard House to celebrate and to pray together. More details here.

Reaching this big milestone of purchasing Vineyard House is a huge step towards the task we believe God has given us: to buy; to repair and to redeem this building, and for it to become a place of worship, compassion, and fellowship.

Prayer is also at the heart of the vision for Vineyard House, and we’ll be looking to establish a prayer room in Vineyard House from February, once we have done some essential work to get the building ready.

Whilst initially we will only be able to use Vineyard House in part - as well as establishing a prayer room, we hope to move the church office into the building in the summer of 2019.

We are currently in the process of appointing an architect who will help us develop plans for Vineyard House, and we hope to be in a position to apply for planning approval around April 2019.

Planning consent will enable us to redevelop Vineyard House. We estimate that this likely to cost in the region of £600,000 for the main building. We hope to be able to apply for Grant Funding for much of this and Cath is currently working on identifying the different grants that are available.

The fundraising strategy is shaping up well, Cath is talking to possible funders and mapping out the timings of when to apply for funds. The income to renovate the building will come from grant giving organisations and individuals who share our vision for seeing transformation in people’s lives. It will be an exciting journey for all who commit to the project and help us move to a point where the building is open for God’s work.

A massive thank you to everyone who has been part of the journey so far. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about Vineyard House please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you. You can email us here.

Psalm 90 V 17: “May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands” (NIV)

Sam Lewis

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29th October 2018

Update from Cath Storey (Project Manager Fundraising & Marketing) about Vineyard House Phase II – establishing relationships, hearing from the church community, half marathons, Leader’s prayer, and much more...

The project team met with Alex Soble MP (our local MP) and Neil Walshaw (one of our local councillors) this month. It was a great first meeting, getting to know them and sharing our vision for Vineyard House. Our primary question was, “How can we help you?” They were a bit taken aback by us offering to help rather than ask them for stuff but responded immediately with “Loneliness” and “the rough sleeping” and “the environment”. They went on to provide very useful contacts and suggestions.

This month the Vineyard House project team also met and established relationships with Child Friendly Headingley and the chair of Headingley Neighbourhood Plan. We hope to be invited to their meetings and to become a long-standing member of the forum. We have also shared our Face Facts research with key contacts locally (particularly South Parade Baptist Church) and have been learning more about the council’s services planned for the Community Hub.

Mapping out all the activities that are happening in Headingley is important, one funder has recently stated “it’s important to involve your community in the design, development and delivery of the activities you are planning to do. This helps projects to be better supported and is more likely to be successful as a result”.

VH PP Slides3

Thanks to everyone who completed the church survey: if you have not had the chance, please follow this link to do so – please include any questions or thoughts you have on the project.  We have had a great response and are in the process of collating all the results.

Please do also pick up a Vineyard House leaflet on Sunday - if you haven’t already and do take one for family and friends who might like to support the project with the fundraising task that lies ahead. And of course, massive thanks go to Annette Clark who completed a half marathon on the 9th September and raised an amazing £550 for Vineyard House. Check out the recent recording of the interview and account she gave in church about how prayer helped her to reach the finish line.

Annette RunAnnette Cath

I am working on the fundraising strategy for Vineyard House, and Sam Lewis, who you will meet soon if you haven’t already, needs to know “how much and by when” for his side of the project planning. We anticipate most of the income will be generated from grants, trusts and foundations. However, if you have an inkling of an idea for a fundraising challenge to raise money for Vineyard House that you, your friends or others in the church family might like to do, speak up! I have experience of raising money through challenge events personally and in my work with other charities. It could be a fun thing to organise and plan as the nights draw in. Planning and getting people involved now would mean a great start for the 2019 season!

The wait for Vineyard House and the project planning process is a long one and will continue even after we have the keys to the building on the 10 December 2018. Sam and I have come in two years since the initial project was announced and can imagine that it is hard to stay enthusiastic and hopeful. We held our last Leaders’ Meeting in the building and some of our prayer time was based on a verse which encourages us to keep going because it won’t be long before we see the bright light shining out of Vineyard House!

The God of heaven Himself will help us succeed; therefore, we will arise and build!  We will trust His Word and believe in the Sovereign Lord who always keeps His promises.  Nehemiah 2:20

Please see the article to read more of the prayer and response that the church leaders gave for Vineyard House during their recent meeting.

If you would like to contact Sam or me about anything relating to the Vineyard House Project Phase II, please do email us via the office.
If you would like to support the project financially then you can give here.

Cath Storey

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Vineyard House Phase II - Questionnaire 

We would really appreciate if you could fill in this questionnaire if you haven't completed the paper version.VH Questionnaire - Web image

Please download the questionnaire, type onto the pdf using Adobe Acrobat, save and email to the office.


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27th September 2018

Update from Cath Storey (Project Manager Fundraising & Marketing) about Vineyard House – the next three months will be action packed as we draw closer to completing on the purchase of our new building for the Kingdom.

natalia-fogarty-lkD1gTYxxEE-unVineyard House BW

As the leaves turn from green to red and we head into Autumn, the Vineyard House Phase II project team, Leeds Vineyard Trustees and Leadership Group are getting closer to answering the question, what will Vineyard House be used for?  What are the priorities for use? What activity will be visible and what as a church will we need to do behind the scenes to deliver various activities? We are also closely assessing how the different ways we might use the building rank with our faith. Partnership and collaboration is key for Vineyard House to succeed in the short and long term and it is important for us that we are seen positively within the local community. The next few months will see everyone in the project team meet with, and establish working relationships with, key personnel: from politicians, to third sector groups and organisations doing amazing work in Headingley, as well as our partner churches in the area. 

Please look out for a church survey in the form of a questionnaire coming your way on a Sunday in early October. How you feel about the project and how you want to be kept up to date is important to us. As the project gains pace, we hope to fill in any gaps the church community might feel they have about Vineyard House. We want you to feel part of the journey. Please do complete it and include any questions or thoughts you have on the project and we’d also like to hear how you would like to receive information about the project in the future. 

Did you make a financial pledge?

There are several key things coming up, one of which is completing on the purchase of the building on Bennett Road. As we draw ever closer to this date, we need to receive any outstanding pledges that you have made. It is important that we receive any outstanding pledges of financial support to the project before the end of September so that we have adequate time to claim the necessary gift aid. Please do email Adrian, or David, with your intentions. Your support at this time is received with heartfelt thanks.

Another key element of the project planning this next quarter comes under “Policies and Procedures”. Sam Lewis would really like to hear from anyone who is gifted in this area or who already has this role outside of the church community and would like to offer some support in setting up and ensuring all the policies and procedures are in place for Vineyard House for the appropriate time when we take ownership and responsibility for the building.  Please contact Sam via the office if you would like to help or can think of someone who we might ask to help in a voluntary capacity. 

As a project team we look forward to hearing what God might be calling us to do in Headingley. We hope many of you as well as praying for those put on your heart, will also pray for the Vineyard House project during the “14 days to Pray and Fast” which starts on the 30th September.  We want to hear Him lead us in our decision making and the next steps for Vineyard House, so if Leeds Vineyard is your community of faith please start the 14 days by coming along to the next Engine Room on Sunday 30th September.

The next few months are important as we honestly, objectively and prayerfully work through what it means to be people of God in our community, in the location of Headingley and with the specific circumstances that our community of faith has. 

We want to serve our neighbours in Christ’s name and hope you can all join us in our team prayer.

Heavenly Father, we come to you today asking

for your guidance, wisdom, and support as

we carry out our work. Help us to engage

in meaningful discussion; allow us to grow

closer as a group and nurture the bonds of

community. Fill us with your grace, Lord God,

as we make decisions that will affect the

church community, and continue to remind

us that all that we do here today, all that we

accomplish, is for the pursuit of truth for the

greater glory of You, and for the service of

humanity. We ask these things in your name,


If you would like to contact Sam or I about anything relating to the Vineyard House Project Phase II, please do email us via the office

Cath Storey

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