Development Update – Dan brings us up to date with the project to make our church fit for the future

Update from Dan Docwra, Session Clerk and Chair of the Blue Skies Group

Dear Members of the Granton Parish Church Family

It was about two years ago that I presented plans for the development of Granton Parish Church to the congregation. The Blue Skies Group of Elders had taken a very serious look at the future of the Church and its facilities and how best to improve and preserve our beautiful Church to meet our needs now and for future generations.

Ambitious

The ambitious plans that were presented showed the complete redevelopment of the area connecting the Sanctuary to the halls. These plans included a new extended kitchen, new toilets and a glazed new entrance area with meeting spaces and offices. We thought we had thought of everything and presented our plans with enthusiasm, even making light of the prospect of having to raise about £700,000 to make it all happen.
Since then, a series of opportunities and circumstances have shifted our focus, meaning the bigger plans have been put on hold. This article is to update you with current activity and future thinking.

Granton Goes Greener

In 2017, we were told about the Scottish Government initiative called Keep Scotland Beautiful and a funding scheme, The Climate Challenge Fund. This fund gave the opportunity to improve our buildings, reduce our carbon footprint and respond to immediate needs in our local community.
We made our first application for funding to the Climate Challenge Fund in October 2017 and were successful in being awarded one-year funding £88,734 for various projects starting in April 2018, including the employment of a part-time Climate Change Officer, Anna Baran.

read more about our Climate Challenge Project – Granton Goes Greener

Lighting, insulation and windows

First was the complete replacement of all lighting throughout the buildings, with very bright energy efficient LED units. This was followed by the installation of insulation in various parts of the Church and halls. The next phase of the project has involved restoration of windows in the East and West halls, installation of secondary glazing and the removal of the vandal proof coverings in the East Hall. This transformal aspect of the project will be completed in March 2019.

The East Hall windows – as they are now

Community

The community aspect of Granton Goes Greener has been the catalyst for greater involvement with our community, Anna has been absolutely key to this success and we are hoping an application to keep her in post will be successful.

We have been encouraging greater use of cycling by holding regular free Bicycle Maintenance sessions supported by Grease Monkeys. At the same time, five of us have qualified as Cycle Leaders through Cycling Scotland and have led groups of novice cyclists on regular rides around Granton and down to Cramond.

Positive Impact

Granton Parish Church is having a very positive impact upon our community, the number of community organisations using our facilities is increasing and, thanks to Anna’s tireless work, more volunteers are coming to help at the Swap Shop, Granton Community Gardeners are hosting a weekly community meal and links have been developed with Edinburgh College, Salvation Army, Granton Library and Spartan’s Football Club and Dad’s Rock are here on Saturday mornings.

some of the groups and organisations using the halls

Church Heating

Replacing the Church heating system was to be incorporated into the bigger Blue Skies Development Project. However, we now need to address this more urgently. We have obtained quotes, first to remove asbestos from the old boiler and then for the installation of the replacement system. Applications have been made to various funding bodies to enable us to carry out this work, but also to carry out repairs to the Church Sanctuary windows and install secondary glazing – let’s keep the heat from the new system in Church!

Kitchen

Part of the Development Project was to replace the kitchen and there is an urgent need for this to allow us to continue all that we are offering to the local community. Waiting for this to be part of a longer-term plan no longer seemed viable and we are awaiting the outcome of applications to fund and completely refurbish the existing kitchen.

The Future

So there has been a lot going on and there is a lot that still needs to happen. There has been a fair amount of disruption and we have greatly appreciated the congregation’s support in all of this.

In terms of what has happened to the original Blue Skies plan, we have not lost sight of our original reasons for the improvements to the central area. Once the vital works are completed, we will revisit the plans and look to establish a programme for the next stage of our development.

Questions or comments?

If you have any questions about any of the projects I have mentioned or our future plans, please don’t hesitate to speak to me in Church or at home 0131 467 4239 or email dan@granton.org.uk.

Best wishes from Kirk Session and the Blue Skies Group.

Dan Docwra, Session Clerk