Residents of Kingsley Holt have come together to save and repurpose their local chapel as a thriving community centre providing an essential meeting space, shop and café for the area.
Situated in the Staffordshire Moorlands just a few miles away from Cheadle, the village of Kingsley Holt has had to rely on its neighboring market town for local amenities in recent years after closure of the village’s last shop.
As well as a place of worship, Kingsley Holt Chapel has been an important community meeting space hosting all kinds of events, carnivals, Christmas fairs and carol services since its opening in 1937. Originally managed by the Methodist Church, the Chapel was closed for regular worship in June 2019 due to a dwindling congregation. Church trustees wanted to find a “new energy and vision” for the building and approached residents to help find alternative uses for the Chapel and retain it as a community asset. In response to this the local community had rallied together around the village’s 85 year old chapel to protect and retain it as a thriving community space.
From then on, the community came together to help manage the centre activities and hire the venue out for events and meetings. After being informed in May 2021 by Methodist Trustees that the Chapel was to be sold, locals decided that the building was far too important and valuable to the village to let go and applied to the local council to register and protect it as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), listing was granted on the 9th Aug 2021. Soon after Kingsley Holt Centre Limited was registered as a Community Benefit Society and locals began to plan the purchase of the building.
Securing loans from Co-operative & Community Finance and Co-op Loan Fund (managed by CCF) along with a community share offer with investment from over 120 members; the committee has been able to purchase the building completing on the 5th September 2022 and are now busy putting in place exciting plans to change the internal layout creating a new meeting space to increase capacity and convert an existing domestic kitchen into a new shop and café area.
Martin Wheeler, Chair of Kingsley Holt Centre Limited said: “When we first started on this project, we had to do an amazing amount of research. We visited other groups for advice and on one of these visits CCF was recommended to us. From the very first contact it was evident that this was an invaluable recommendation. Kevin worked very closely with us on this project from first contact providing advice, information access to funding in addition to loans. We are very excited about this project and it’s very reassuring to know we will have the expertise of CCF working alongside us going forward.”
Kevin Lloyd-Evans, Lending and Relationship Manager at Co-operative & Community Finance said: “Kingsley Holt is a great story of a community overcoming significant challenges to secure a community asset. Martin and the group have been amazing, and really battled through to make this happen. This really does give hope to community groups looking to secure community assets.”
You can keep up to date with Kingsley Holt Centre by visiting their website.