Our vision is to make the church and hall welcoming and hospitable, with user friendly access and improved modern facilities. It is not just about wheelchair access although it is important that the premises are disability compliant. We need to make it a place that everyone is happy to use, young and old, including those with issues of sight, hearing, dementia and mobility.
Phase 1 and work to date
Phase 1 has focused on providing disability compliant access from the village hall car park to the front door of the church, and on Sunday 19th November, the Dyke Church community celebrated the completion of phase 1.
Church members, along with other members of the local community and funders’ representatives, met in Dyke Community hall and then followed the piper John Channon up the newly built accessible path to the church. Reverend Penelope Smirthwaite then led the dedication ceremony which was the culmination of over a year of community events and fundraising. Money was raised from concerts, a talent show, sponsored run and many other activities. Funding was also received from Money for Moray after a public vote, Berry Burn Wind Farm, Moray Presbytery and from the Rotary Club of Forres. A huge thank you goes to everyone who has contributed to this project so far, it has been an amazing achievement.
Project manager Judith Sutherland paid tribute to the team who pulled together to complete phase 1: “It is a huge undertaking for everyone involved in the project, and we are delighted to see the path in place making the church and its hall more accessible for the whole community.”
The old churchyard wall has been raised to support a section of the path, a safety fence erected, and new lighting will be installed shortly.
Martin Harker, who is project manager for phase 2, added: “Working in the area around the church and in the graveyard has been challenging, but we have been able to complete phase 1 of the project sensitively. The project has symbolic value too, linking the community and the church.”
We are currently finalising our plans for phase 2 and looking at sourcing funding. Below is an outline of our aims:
The existing kitchen extension will accommodate two toilets, one of which will be disability compliant and also have baby changing facilities. A sink and worktop will provide facilities for cleaning and flower arranging. The fire exit will be improved. At the other end of the corridor, three steps will lead up to a landing which will be on the same level as the church hall. A wheelchair lift will be fitted to the wall, like a Stannah stair lift but with a platform for wheelchairs, which can fold away. In the Hall, the end partition and toilet will be removed and a kitchen installed.
The blocked up door to the Brodie Porch will be opened up and the iron grill gate removed. The porch will form an attractive entrance to the Hall with its decorative tiled floor and ornamental stonework and memorial. The 15th century Brodie memorial that is currently on the end wall of the hall, where the kitchen will be, is to be moved and displayed in the porch.
The existing low exterior door to the hall will be replaced with a window, providing natural light into the hall. The existing three small, dark windows will also be improved. The asbestos boarding that currently lines the hall walls will be removed. The heating, insulation and lighting will be improved.
We have now registered the church with JustGiving so if anyone would like to set themselves a challenge and at the same time raise funds for our project you can find us at http://www.justgiving.com/dyke-parish
The committee has been asked if it is possible to donate by standing order on a monthly basis. If you would like to explore this further please speak to the church treasurer Ann Crossman.