A village group which aims to purchase a former chapel for community use, has raised £140,000 through a community share scheme. The ‘Kingsley Holt Centre’ group is aiming to purchase the Methodist Chapel in Kingsley Holt, which the Staffordshire Moorlands Methodist Circuit had previously announced that it is putting the building up for sale.
A village group which aims to purchase a former chapel for community use, has raised £140,000 through a community share scheme.
The ‘Kingsley Holt Centre’ group is aiming to purchase the Methodist Chapel in Kingsley Holt, which the Staffordshire Moorlands Methodist Circuit had previously announced that it is putting the building up for sale.
In 2021, the Kingsley Holt Centre group made a successful bid to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council for the building to be registered as an Asset of Community Value.
The Kingsley Holt Centre Project is now aiming to raise around £250,000 to purchase and refurbish the former chapel, to provide a welcoming space for groups, clubs, activities, events and hopefully a community shop and café.
They have set up a Community Benefit Society which will run The Kingsley Holt Centre for the benefit of the residents of Kingsley Holt and the surrounding area; and furthermore launched a share offer initiative as part of their bid to raise the cash to purchase the building.
The Methodist Circuit has recently instructed estate agents Butters John Bee to market the Kingsley Holt Chapel building and associated land, which includes a car park for eight cars, for an asking price of £150,000.
A spokesman for the Kingsley Holt Centre group said: “Kingsley Holt Centre Community Share offer closes having raised an amazing £140,000 in just six weeks.
“We are so thankful to everyone that has been able to support our Share Offer and enable us to meet this fantastic total.
“Kingsley Holt Centre now has over 120 shareholders, individuals, district and parish councillors, community groups and companies, members that have shown how important it is to save this community building.”
They continued: “We have secured the support of the Booster Fund, which is funded by Power to Change and run by the Community Shares Unit. Under this programme up to £20,000 is available to match applications for shares from the public.
“This means that for every pound invested by individuals, up to £20,000, another pound will be invested in shares by the Booster Programme.
“The match shares will be held by Co-operatives UK, a partner in the Community Shares Unit, and will be subject to the same terms and conditions as other Kingsley Holt Centre members, except for its right to withdraw share capital, which will be restricted to a pro-rata amount.”
The Kingsley Holt Centre group is now set to make an offer to the Methodist Circuit for the building.
The spokesman added: “This project is so vitally important to our community, the outstanding response to our share offer means we will now be able to make a realistic and fair offer.
“An offer to protect the heritage of the building to ensure it continues to serve as a meeting place for its community and a focal point of our village.
“It will soon be down to the Methodist Church to decide who they sell to; will it be a community ready and willing to offer a fair and realistic price. A community that wants to see this building continue to thrive as a community space, welcoming to all.
“Or will we see it fade sadly into the past, worst still will we watch as it disappears completely?
“No, the one thing we won’t be doing is sitting back and watching, we will fight all and any attempt to change the use of this building, any attempt to try and use it for any other purpose than community.
“Let’s hope our offer is acceptable and we can soon get started on reopening this fabulous building, get some joy back in its heart and a smile back on its face.
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