Crowhurst Hall Project

The Crowhurst Hall, tucked behind the Knoyle Hall in Knoyle Road, has been a much valued venue for the young people of Preston since it opened in 1928.

It was still used by the Scout and Guiding community, but was looking very sorry for itself, lacking many of the facilities we tend to take for granted in 2014.

As part of St John’s commitment to serving the community more effectively, the church, assisted by the user community, has worked hard to secure grants and finance from a number of sources to give it a complete refurbishment.

A new ramp has been built to afford a new disabled access to both the Crowhurst and Knoyle Halls, fully accessible loos and safe kitchen area. This means it is now a welcoming, affordable space for a whole range of community groups and charities.

We have spent over £130,000 so far on the Crowhurst Community Centre, but we are still collecting money to continue improvements, such as double glazing the windows and adding to the kitchen facilities.

Finally November saw our grand opening by the Bishop of Lewes, with many visitors joining us, such as the Mayor and Mayoress and a number of Councillors, for a celebration to launch our new facility. See pictures youtube local news

So, please dig deep and donate to the Crowhurst Hall Development Project so that the Crowhurst Community Centre continues to be a valuable resource for our community for many years to come.

Donations can be sent to Crowhurst Hall Project, St John’s Church, Knoyle Road, Brighton BN1 6RB or you can give online and Gift Aid by clicking on the button below. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Crowhurst Hall Project’.

News Release

18 November 2014

Bishop to unveil transformed Brighton community hall

This Saturday (22 November 2014) the Bishop of Lewes, the Rt. Reverend Richard Jackson, will officially re-open the transformed Crowhurst Hall on Knoyle Road, Preston, Brighton.

The Bishop will perform the opening ceremony at 11.00am. It will be followed by a chance for guests to see the results of the £130,000 project.

The Parochial Church Council of St John the Evangelist Brighton (St John’s PCC) led the scheme to transform the run-down church hall into a hub for community activities and support.

The hall is now a place where people can drop in, feel welcome and participate. Work included creating access for people with disabilities, installing windows, doors, accessible toilets and a new kitchen, and redecorating the centre.

Funding came from The Allchurches Trust, who awarded £5,000, other charitable trusts, St John’s Church, and The Veolia Environmental Trust, who awarded a grant of £49,000 through the Landfill Communities Fund. This vital source of funding lets waste companies retain a proportion of their Landfill Tax bill so it can be awarded to community and environmental projects.

An independent parish audit undertaken in 2011 identified a range of unmet social needs in the area and the church started developing plans for a centre that would meet these. It consulted local people, priority user groups, and local Ward Councillors on their ideas and the plans for the centre were developed to reflect their responses.

The vicar of St John The Evangelist Church, Reverend Alison Bowman says, “We are delighted with our new facilities. They were delivered on time and on budget. We can now look forward to using the building to engage with the local community as part of our mission action plan.”

Bishop Jackson adds, “ This is just the sort of imaginative project we hope many churches will engage in as an expression of God's love and hospitality.  We want our facilities to be available to the whole community and this new development will allow St. John's to do just that. I hope and pray it will be a blessing to the people of the area. ”

The Executive Director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, Paul Taylor, adds, “We support community and environmental projects across the UK and it is always great to hear about the opening of one we have helped. This transformation will mean the hall will become a focus for much-needed community activities and events and I look forward to hearing about them in the future.”

Click for more picture of the opening

youtube local news

Update March 2014

Our hopes for a major grant from Allchurches Trust did not materialised and we have redesigned the scheme to retain the existing structure at the north end of the hall. This reduced the anticipated budget from £190,000 to £130,000.

Current position
Veolia approved the amended design and kindly agreed to hold their grant of £49,000 open. They are, however, under pressure to spend sums on projects they have agreed to support and require us to raise the balance of the funds, and have tenders returned, by 9 th June 2014.

To date we have raised £82,000, leaving a shortfall of £48,000. We applied to SITA for a grant but, unfortunately, they were inundated and were unable to support us. We are, however, busy submitting further grant applications to Garfield Weston Trust, Screwfix, Biffa and a number of smaller foundations.

Fundraising continues with John Mountney running the marathon for us, a quiz night and we will shortly launch a 'Buy a Brick' campaign.

Detailed design is in hand and we hope to invite tenders at the beginning of May.

We are in discussion with a number of prospective users of the refurbished hall.

How you can help
Please support our fundraising, do let us know of any potential sources of grants, or organisations seeking premises, and please do speak to me if you would like any further details.

Charles Haywood

Press Release

29 July 2013

A project to revitalise Crowhurst Hall, next to St John's Church, Knoyle Road, has received a boost from The Veolia Environmental Trust.

We have awarded Preston Parish Church St John's a grant of £49,000 to help fund their scheme to re-develop the underused hall as a community centre and create a community hub from which a range of activities can be developed to address the needs of the local community. The venue will become a place where people can drop in, feel welcome and participate.

The grant was awarded at our quarterly Board meeting on 15 July 2013, when 48 grants totalling over £1.2m were awarded to community and environmental projects across the UK.

We award grants through the Landfill Communities Fund and in the last five years we have awarded £767,366 to projects in East Sussex.

We will now work with Preston Parish Church St John's to finalise the details of the project and get it started as soon as possible.

The Reverend Alison Bowman says, 'This grant is great news and means we can push the project forward and redevelop our underused hall.'

The Acting Executive Director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, Maria Cade, adds, 'We are pleased to be able to support this project and look forward to seeing it start.'


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