Plaistow church celebrates huge cash windfall

A Plaistow church is celebrating after being awarded a grant of �76,490 from the Big Lottery Fund.

Memorial Community Church in Barking Road, which earlier this year received �40,800 National Heritage funding for the restoration of its bells, is being awarded its latest grant for the improvement of community facilities.

Rev Mark Janes, minister of Memorial Church, said: “The people who built the church in the 1920s built it big enough not just for Sunday worship but for all kinds of educational and social activities as well.

“Bringing the facilities up to modern standards will mean it can be used for fun and useful things that bring people together and improve the quality of life for local people in our neighbourhood.”

Rev Janes said the lack of heating and old toilets at the Welcome Centre mean that the available space, which includes a meeting room with kitchen, creche and an IT suite equipped with eight computers, is not used nearly as much as it could be.

“New heating and toilets will mean there will be a much warmer welcome for everyone,” said Rev Janes.

The church has also been given a �50,000 grant from City Bridge Trust towards making the centre more welcome to wheelchair users, with a ramp, new doorways and an accessible toilet to be installed.

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The Welcome Centre is used by a range of organisations, including the Bridges Project for homeless people, the We Are Family group for young parents run by the Alternatives charity, and IT training classes provided by The Plus Centre.

Once the building improvements are carried out this summer, the church plans to work together with these and other groups to launch activities, including computer skills training, exercise classes and healthy eating sessions.

The Big Lottery Fund will be used to pay the part-time salary of a member of staff to manage the project and includes money to train new exercise instructors.

It promises to be a busy year for Memorial Church with scheduled restoration work due to take place on its bells and bell tower this summer provided outstanding funds for the projects can be raised.

If you would like to contribute to the bell tower appeal, go to Memorial’s website at