With strong local support, growing church attendance, active youth work and a leap of faith, work has begun on a £180,000 redevelopment of the Victorian Chapel.
To date they have been awarded grants totalling £120,000 to add to the £10,000 raised locally. They are grateful to the Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes, the Kirkoswald and Alston Moor Methodist Circuit, Methodist Insurance Fund, Cumbria Waste Management Environment Trust, All Churches Trust, Norwood and Newton Settlement, The Beatrice Laing Trust, Fellside Carpets and the local community for their support.
This has allowed them to complete two thirds of the proposed works during this summer. Work has been carried out to secure the external fabric through partial re-roofing, repairs to masonry and re-pointing, as well as a total re-wire and installation of new heating and insulation. The School Room has also been totally re-furbished including installing a new kitchen, disabled toilet and hot water facilities. A new footpath has been installed from the road with disabled access to the chapel.
The village now has an additional warm and attractive small meeting room with proper facilities which will be particularly appreciated by the Little Acorns Children’s Club, which has 24 members and the weekly Tuesday coffee mornings. The work was designed by local architect Lee Page of Space Design Solutions Ltd and carried out by the contractor Paul Thompson Joinery Ltd.
Completion of Phase 1 was celebrated at the recent Harvest Festival. A nearly full church was led in worship by the new Superintendent minister, Rev Colin Marchment. This was a service of thanksgiving involving the Little Acorns Children who had made miniature gardens and animals from vegetables.
Church treasurer John Slee said: “Through proactive engagement, we continued to be amazed by the support we have received. This gives us confidence to pursue Phase 2 which will involve refurbishment of the chapel to retain its Victorian character whilst making it fit for modern use. The chapel is located at the centre of the Ecumenical East of Eden Mission Community where the Methodist Church and Church of England work together as one.”
Grant seeking and fund raising will continue in the hope they can complete the remainder of the works in 2020. Ultimately, they’d like to create a John Wesley Heritage Centre to commemorate the role Gamblesby played in the establishment of Methodism in Cumbria in support of Church Tourism.
The next fundraising event will be a concert by ‘Peak Voices’ a talented quartet from Derbyshire led by Chris Blackshaw the son of Rev Chris Blackshaw former agricultural Chaplin for Cumbria who now lives in Gamblesby.
TICKETS (INC REFRESHEMENTS) FROM CHURCH MEMBERS OR JAN BLACKSHAW 01768 254320
The next meeting of The Little Acorns Creative, Christian Children’s Club will be at 10am on Sunday 10 November in the newly refurbished School Room – children aged 1-11 are most welcome. Their Christmas Fair being held on Sat 7 December from 10am to 4pm in the Community centre with a wide variety of stalls and seasonal refreshments available.