Fartown Proposal

In Spring 2021 we are consulting the church family on an exciting PCC proposal to buy Fartown Christian Fellowship to be a home base for Pudsey Community Project.

Please find below the collection of resources to help fill you in on the proposal, including a Frequently Asked Questions list which will be added to as the consultation continues.

Please start by reading this letter of background and explanation.

Consultation survey

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3XQDM5X (For members of the congregation)

Dates/times of prayer and Q&A sessions

(Zoom links have been sent to the congregation by email – if you need them please contact the church office)

There will be two opportunities for prayer for the proposal each week – one immediately after the Sunday After-Church coffee for 20 minutes, and one on a Monday evening at 7pm for 20-30 minutes. These will be:

Sunday 28 February 12.15pm
Monday 1 March 7pm
Sunday 7 March 12.15pm
Monday 8 March 7pm
Sunday 14 March 12.15pm

There will be three question and answer sessions during the consultation – on March 1 at 7.30pm, March 4 at 10am, and March 7 at 4pm – you are welcome to come along to any of them, where clergy, wardens and PCC members will variously be able to listen to your questions.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What do the congregation of Fartown Christian Fellowship think about this proposal?

They are very pleased that their building which has been prayed in for 100 years might continue to be used for the glory of God, and they are praying for us as a church as we make our decision. They would be delighted if the building could be used to host Pudsey Community Project, and their church leaders have been hugely helpful and supportive as we have explored the proposal.

What condition is the building in?

The building has been very well looked after by Fartown Christian Fellowship over the decades they have been responsible for it. We have commissioned a very thorough survey so we are very aware of all the work that could be done on it. The building is 100 years old so obviously there are improvements and maintenance works that we would plan to do, subject to funding (hence the request for pledges of support to build up a sizeable fund) including some important works we would want to do very soon. But whereas Crawshaw Mill needed hundreds of thousands of pounds of work doing before it could even be used at all, the Fartown building is basically ready for use and we could theoretically move in after a few days of simple tidying and cleaning!

Where will the money come from to maintain the building?

Pudsey Community Project would contribute several thousands of pounds a year each year in rent, and we would be applying for grant funding for medium-sized projects. We hope to start with a £30,000 fund from congregation pledges to allow us to improve the accessibility, fire safety and a range of improvements and repairs to the building including roof maintenance

What is the space inside like?

You can see simple plans on this website, but basically the ground floor has access from Fartown including a ramp, and a side exit onto Carlisle Road. There is a large main hall (around the size of the church narthex) with a stage area, four smaller meeting rooms, male and female toilets, and a large kitchen. There is also a shower room and a storage room. Stairs lead down to the lower floor which has a second kitchen, a smaller meeting room, another large lower hall about the same size as the main hall (60-70 people could meet there), and a large boiler room/storage area with emergency exit.

Why do we need another building when we can continue as we are?

To help anyone who hasn’t been in the church building over the past year picture it: the foodbank, children’s clothes bank and jigsaw library, and office space for the Project are currently occupying the entire south aisle, a small part of the north aisle, the entire central balcony, the north room upstairs, part of the south balcony, part of the south room upstairs and a third of the narthex.

It would be very difficult to continue as we are if church services and other church-building activities were to resume – our church building may be big but it is not suited for multiple use at the same time. We can easily accommodate restricted-number funerals and smaller restricted-number services at the moment, but unless we find a new home for the Project we would be unable to host ABC, Sunday school, larger funerals or weddings, or large church services when these all became allowed again. The alternative would be closing Project activities. Another building would allow the Project to develop a wider range of activities (such as youth provision or mental health support groups) but at the same time allow the church building to function well as an open and accessible church.

How will the running costs be covered?

The Church is not responsible for the building’s running costs – they are for the Project to cover, through donations, fundraising and grant applications (which have been very successful so far). The Project will cover utilities costs including operating and contents insurance. The Church is responsible for the maintenance costs of the building and building insurance – for this there will be rent from the Project; we would also make grant applications for improving a community asset.

What support staff and security will be needed for the building?

The Project, rather than Church, will provide the support staff as needed, which may be paid or volunteers. The medium term aim for the Project is to replace the current Project Coordinator (part time) with a Project Manager (full time), once grant applications are successful.
The building already has security grilles on almost every window. As part of the fit out of the building we would add extra security including a security alarm and improved fire safety.

What is the timeline?

We hope to have a formal decision at the March 15th PCC meeting – after that it becomes a question of finances and permissions, but we confidently hope that the Project would be operating from there at least mainly before the summer holidays. Youth provision is likely to reopen there from September, assuming any restrictions allow.

Will there still be a need for a foodbank post-covid?

Well sadly there probably will be – the below graph shows how even before covid foodbank use has risen every year (as it has for the past 20 years), and local provision isn’t enough for the people of our community so we know there is a need for more outlets, and it’s very probable we will still be involved in getting people food for some time to come.
But – we are in discussion with other agencies across Leeds about what food provision is best, and we may be supplementing food parcels in the future with food clubs where people who can, contribute a little towards their food, to encourage moving on from dependence.

And, crucially, Pudsey Community Project is much more than Pudsey Foodbank – our range of activities is broad and will expand in the future, and we will meet what needs we can depending on the changing community – but this will always be more than just food.

Does it matter that it’s not in the centre of Pudsey?

It matters a lot less than Crawshaw Mill did, because that plan was centred around a soft-play centre and café that needed centre-of-town footfall in order to be financially viable.
But this is a base for projects that aren’t usually ‘wander-in’ for visitors: they are either based around booked slots or deliveries – or they are specifically timed events such as a youth club or youth café etc, and those activities we are confident are ones that people are fine to travel that little bit further to – less than 1/3 of a mile from church. We know people will travel to these because of the distances they previously travelled from to come to church youth clubs, or the fact that the scout hut is round the corner and attracts significant numbers for its groups even though it too is not in the centre.

Does it matter about parking limitations?

No – the parking limitations aren’t bad because of the free on-street parking around the local streets especially including Carlisle Road which should be perfectly sufficient.
Many of the Project services will involve someone coming for a short period (eg to pick up food or clothes), or will be relatively small groups (5-6 up to 30-40). The larger groups will usually be groups of young people who would either walk or get dropped off. We are not anticipating large enough gatherings on a regular basis to cause parking problems. As we are not operating a soft-play centre or café, the parking provision seems to be suitable for our needs.
Crawshaw Mill only had two car parking spaces, and there is often a pressure for central parking in Pudsey in the car parks, so actually the provision at Fartown is proportionally more generous, given the different requirements.

How much are we working in collaboration with others so could complement what’s going on?

The Project is operating very much in partnership with others: Pudsey Wellbeing Charity (where Richard is Chair of Trustees), local schools, the Children’s Cluster, Pudsey and Farsley Live at Home schemes, Leeds Youth Services, Leeds City Council, regular conversations with our local councillors – and more. The Project works by partnership with others and we aim to dovetail rather than duplicate.

Are we meeting the needs and wants of the community in this?

We believe that the Project’s activities are reflective of the desires of the local community based on conversations we have been able to have over the past years, and that they are also responsive to community needs. Our conversations with local partners – especially councillors and schools – convince us that we are scratching where the itches of need are in our local community. The beauty of the umbrella of the Project is that offered activities can be flexible depending on changing needs.

Why can’t we have soft-play and a café in the Fartown building?

It’s fair to say that not having tried to open a soft-play centre just before the pandemic took hold and ran many soft-play centres out of business permanently is one of the most positive failures we’ve experienced in recent years!
We aren’t planning soft-play and a café in the Fartown building because:
(a) None of us really have experience operating soft-play so it was the riskiest part of the Crawshaw Mill proposal.
(b) The church building is far more appropriate than Fartown to offer more of a café atmosphere in the months to come
(c) Investing in soft play equipment could run to tens of thousands of pounds easily – and we just couldn’t justify that here.
(d) The Fartown building is smaller than Crawshaw so we would not be able to fit it in and still operate a variety of groups and clubs. We can’t afford a building at the moment that would be also able to offer something like that as well.