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Updates about the new Parish Centre

April 2024 – 3D Model Revealed!

Around fifty people came to see Neil Maclure’s beautifully-crafted 3D model which has brought the project to life in a new and exciting way. We were delighted that Jane, the Bishop of Hertford was able to join us for this informative and inspiring evening.  More information here.

July 2023 – Donors’ Thank you Event

Many people have contributed generously to the project since fundraising began in 2020. Many others have put significant time and effort into organising events and activities to raise money and awareness. The project team voiced their appreciation for all this hard work and generosity in a well-deserved formal acknowledgement over cheese and wine at a Thank You event in July.  Project Ambassadors, too, were gratefully recognised for their role in speaking to people individually, bringing the project to life and encouraging new donors. The event celebrated our milestones and shared the next steps for the project.

May 2023 – Planning permission renewed for three years

The original planning permission expired in September 2022, as three years passed without construction work starting due to Covid.  The original planning documentation was therefore resubmitted and permission was granted in May 2023 following a committee review by St Albans District Council.

Autumn 2022 – Fundraising events begin in earnest

The autumn fund-raising programme opened with a very enjoyable Quiz Night and Fish & Chip supper in September.  It was followed by a beautifully-presented photographic exhibition in November organised by Brian and Carol Cooke, and a concert in church by Sophie Crowley. The much-awaited St John’s Cookbook went on sale, with 500 copies flying off the shelves! Together with the sale of Christmas cards, all these autumn activities raised nearly £7,000.

June 2022 - Relaunch

We re-launched our fund-raising programme on 26th June, and the event was opened by the youngest and oldest persons present in a celebration of the history of St John’s in the 'The Story of St John's' exhibtion which follows the origins of the church from its beginning in 1865, the burning down of the old St John’s in 1905, the construction of the current church in 1907-8 and various additions over time. The new Parish Centre is about enriching the current generation, as well as leaving a legacy for the next. Local Councillor Brian Ellis said "A new Parish Centre will enable St John's to expand its good work in the community and will be a valuable asset for people of all faiths and of none. I wish the fundraising every success" 

June 2020 - Fundraising over lockdown

As a result of lockdown and with social distancing measures in place, our planned fundraising events for the new Parish Centre were sadly on hold. However, to keep us connected and to keep our brain cells ticking over, we held two very successful on-line quizzes via Zoom. The first quiz on Sunday 21st June 2020 saw 40 participants in eight teams Zooming in to take part. Paul Bedding was our Quiz Master, and host James Brown kept us on track. A good time was had by all. After a closely fought contest, team ‘Don’t forget the Wine!’ took the (virtual) trophy. The second quiz took place on Saturday 21st November 2020 and was another fun and festive evening. 65 people in eleven teams joined in to test their knowledge against five more rounds of questions from Paul. This time the closely-fought contest and coveted virtual trophy was won by ‘Pick ‘n’ Mix’, with three teams tying for second place. Many thanks to everyone who joined in and to Paul Bedding, Neil Middleton and Liz Sergeant for organising the event. 

An ‘Across the British Isles’ and Christmas 2020 lockdown written quizzes also kept people pondering with a series of questions (some deviously cryptic) where the answers were towns and cities in the British Isles and Christmas respectively. In total the three quizzes raised over £900 for our new Parish Centre.  

In early May 2020, one of our congregation, Di Borthwick, began to make fabric facemasks to keep us safe out and about.  There has been a huge demand as they are both comfortable and colourful. As a result she has generously donated £1,500 to the Parish Centre project. Our grateful thanks go to Di for this amazing effort.  

April 2020 - First significant milestone achieved

We are delighted to report that we have reached our first significant milestone in our fundraising for the new Parish Centre. Our fund raising programme was officially launched on Saturday 29th February 2020, when we shared our vision for the new Parish centre with the congregation, local residents and community groups in the company of the Bishop of St Albans and the Town Mayor of Harpenden. Following this and presentations and prayers in church in early March, we are pleased to announce that our total funding and pledges (including Gift Aid) currently stands at £500,000. 

This is a fantastic start to our fundraising campaign. We are very grateful to the PCC and members of the congregation who have already made their pledges. The fundraising campaign will continue over five years, with a target of £1.6m. To have reached such a large portion of the target in the first year is a significant step, and we are very grateful to our team of ambassadors and our generous supporters. Particular thanks go to the project team whose energy and enthusiasm have enabled us to reach this milestone.  

Now our attention is focussed on helping our community manage the existing challenges and stay connected. The pandemic has made us all rethink our ways of being, working and relating to each other. We hope our new Parish Centre will help us to continue to adapt to and support the needs of our community.  

Fundraising will resume when it is safe to meet together again in person.

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