Proposed Development – Information for Congregation

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Details of plans to develop our church buildings. We ask members and adherents to consider, discuss and pray about them over the summer period. In church on Sunday 20th August the Kirk Session will ask you to vote on whether you support the Session in moving forward.

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Granton Parish Church has always moved with the times. We had humble beginnings as a congregation attached to Cramond, and after a few years, in 1877, Granton was established as a fully fledged church serving the fishing village of Granton.

When new housing schemes were developed in Boswall, Royston and Wardieburn, to provide new homes for people from Leith’s slums, the church quickly recognised that it had to be in the heart of the new community, and in 1934 moved to the present site in Boswall Parkway. In the late 1950s the church buildings were extended to include the new West Hall, so that more church and community groups could be served.

Today we face many challenges and opportunities in our community and the Kirk Session have created some ambitious plans to make some exciting developments to our buildings.

Our vision is to make Granton Church an attractive, modern connecting point for the community, allowing us to address its needs. Among these are social isolation, poverty, and a requirement to address education in food economics, food hygiene, reduction of food waste and the ability to cook simple, healthy family meals.

What will be the main changes?

The main features of the development plan as it stands at the moment are to:

  • Create a large, glass-fronted entrance area which will act as a gathering space and a warm and welcoming waiting area for those who are collecting children from activities.
  • Upgrade and increase the size of kitchen, both to meet current demand and offer a teaching kitchen
  • Create meeting spaces for smaller group activities
  • Create a church office to enable increased staff presence on-site
  • Replace the existing heating system to improve efficiency and reduce carbon footprint
  • Upgrade the electrical system
  • Increase the number of toilets and provide improved baby changing facilities
  • Comply with all current fire and accessibility regulations making the building a safe and welcoming space for all


Our vision is to make Granton Church an attractive, modern connecting point for the community, allowing us to address its needs. Among these are social isolation, poverty, and a requirement to address education in food economics, food hygiene, reduction of food waste and the ability to cook simple, healthy family meals.

The Kirk Session is convinced that the parish church is a force for good in the community. It has always evolved to meet the needs of the people who live here, from its original starting home in the old school through the building on Granton Road to today’s building that we all enjoy.

Why are we doing this?

This bold plan is underpinned by our values which are:
Our commitment to these values is reflected in our proposal to undertake this development project which would increase our facilities’ flexibility and allow us to better support the needs of our community.

Our Aim

Our aim is to adapt our existing facilities to create a warm and welcoming building which is fit for purpose in the 21st century and which will exist as a community hub. 

How much will this cost?

Exact costs won’t be known until we go to tender, but it is likely that this project could cost up to £800,000.

How realistic is it for us to raise these funds?

Whilst it would be naive to think that fundraising such a large amount is going to be an easy task, we have a strong case for the need for the project, which is the most important starting point. Dan and Karen Docwra both work as professional fundraisers and have extensive experience in a wide range of fundraising techniques, and specialise in raising funds from charitable trusts and foundations, which will provide the solid core of the income. However raising funds will remain the responsibility of the whole congregation.

Likely sources of funding are:

  • Charitable Trusts and Foundations
  • Climate Challenge Fund
  • Corporates
  • Individual giving – from within the congregation.
  • Fundraising

We anticipate that the last two areas of fundraising outlined above would only come into play once the majority of the funds have been raised, meaning that the congregation have a realistic target to look towards.

What happens if we don’t raise the money?

We won’t start any work until we have the money. If we don’t raise it we don’t do it.

What happens if we raise only some of the money?

Trust funders will give money for certain aspects of the project. If we do not raise the entire sum we will have to make sure we spend the money as agreed with funders. It would be wrong to do anything else. If we cannot do that, we will return any funds raised.

It also means that we would have a prioritisation exercise where we decide on what we can do with limited funding.

Would it be better to do this in phases – piecemeal?

This is a yes and no answer. We could definitely afford to update the present kitchen with our current money. We could not afford the heating or any changes to the structure of our buildings. The longer we leave it the more it will cost in the end.

What will happen if we don’t do this?

If we don’t develop our buildings we will become increasingly outdated and out of step with other facilities in the community. There is an active program of improvement for the neighbourhood which can be seen in buildings such as the community centre. Each improved building makes the current condition of the church appear worse.

As regulations increase we will be able to do less and less which will curtail our community activities. This will have a direct impact on how we express our Christian faith.

How do we know that this is what we should be doing?

You go with the best evidence you have. For us that means looking at the values we live out as a Church. Will this help us to achieve them? Yes. By not doing it, will we be hindered from achieving them? Also yes.

How long will it take?

Our architect is suggesting 1-2 years for all the work. Whilst we want to get it done as quickly as possible, it is a large piece of work which we want to be done well. That can only happen with time.

What will happen while the work is being done?

At different points in the project we will lose access to either or both of our halls. Whilst trying to keep this to a minimum it is inevitable. Thankfully we have a flexible space in the church and by good use of that space we should be able to alleviate some of the issues.

The new entrance would be through what is now the Session Room exterior wall. Inviting and well lit, this feature will provide a welcoming ‘shop window’ to the church.
The open circulation area would encourage people to mix, chat and have informal meetings.

Why are we voting on this?

Although the Kirk Session is convinced that this is the right thing to do, it would not be right to do it without the support, backing and involvement of the congregation. This will affect everyone in our church.

Who gets to vote?

On Sunday 20th August we will ask a simple yes or no question “will you support the Kirk Session in going forward with the development of our buildings”. All members present that day are entitled to vote. ‘Adherents’ will also be able to vote.

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The Plans

Our architects have drawn up a plan as part of the Feasibility Study.

The proposed plan takes into account all of the new features that we want, and also taken account of what the User Group told them during the consultation.

However the exact layout is not set in stone and may change according to our needs and priorities over the coming months.

Download hi resolution version of the plans


“If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; but when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.” Proverbs 29:18

We are a community of Christians whose calling is to engage the people of Granton with the Gospel. There is no other group with this task in the Church of Scotland except us! That means we have to take our responsibility seriously.

This redevelopment will allow us to show the people of Granton that God can make a real difference in their lives by helping parents to better look after their children, helping families to eat well together, and giving a space for people to meet on equal terms (whoever they are). It will allow us as a community to demonstrate the love of God amongst our people.

Between now and August please pray about this.

give me the sight to see as you would see,
give me the wisdom to discern your will,
give me the strength to leave my comfort zone,
give me the courage to step out in faith,
give me the resilience to keep on going,
give me the vision to see what could be.
Do all this I pray,
so that I might give you the glory,
both now and forever more.


We realise that many of the congregation will have questions about this proposal and we encourage everyone to ask about the project before we take a vote.

Questions can be answered directly by Members of the Blue Skies Group (Rev. Norman Smith, Chas Macintosh, Dan and Karen Docwra, Neil MacDonald, Sandra Cumming, Linda Young, Anne Macintosh and Alan Summers), with other information available in The Weekly Bulletin, on the Display in the Church, or on the website.


…In Person
There will be a member of the Blue Skies Group present in the church from 12 noon to 2pm each Wednesday to answer questions.

…In Church
There will be a Questions Box next to the display in church for people to pop their questions into.

…By Email

…use this form

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What do I need to do?

Between now and the 20th August everyone will have a chance to:

Think carefully about whether you think this is right for your church
Pray for guidance
Ask questions of the Blue Skies Group
Look out for new information in the form of answers to questions you and others might have
If you are not a member, consider becoming an ‘Adherent’ so that you can vote


The consultation exercise starts in church on Sunday 4th June. Between then and the day of the vote on Sunday 20th August there will be more information, including answers to questions:
On the display in the church | In the weekly Bulletin | On the website