Air-raid shelter to church hall project

An aerial view of Whitehead Methodist Church and air raid shelter, which it plans to convert to a church hall. INCT 26-703-CON
An aerial view of Whitehead Methodist Church and air raid shelter, which it plans to convert to a church hall. INCT 26-703-CON
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Whitehead Methodist Church has been awarded a £20,000 grant towards developing it facilities as part of UK-wide funding programme.

It is among 36 locations sharing in a £607,000 payout from the National Churches Trust.

The money will help with a project to extend the upper floor of the church, reposition the staircase for disabled access and convert an air-raid shelter into a new hall.

Broadcaster Huw Edwards, vice president of The National Churches Trust, said: “This funding will help ensure that this historic and much-loved church will continue to serve local people for many years to come.”

Whitehead Methodist Church was built in 1900 in the Arts and Crafts style and possesses a large front lawn. The building comprises a single-storey church sanctuary with seating for 160 and an attached two-storey caretaker’s house (no longer used as such). The latter is now used for meetings and kitchen/toilets area. An additional building was constructed adjacent to the church on part of the lawn to serve as an air-raid shelter in the Second World War. This building is now used for Sunday School.

The church is actively involved in local community life. It financially supports the Genesis Outreach venture for young people in the town and for the last two years have been an integral part of the Whitehead Victorian Fair at Christmas time, when the church has sold refreshments, had craft stalls and hosted carol singing in the church as well as providing the site for the civic Christmas tree.

The premises are also used for meetings by various groups such as crochet class and Christian Aid.