New life for a derelict church site in Coventry

Planning meeting for the redevelopment of the temporary church site at St Catherine's in Coventry

New life for a derelict church site in Coventry

Published: 22 November 2023
The site of St Catherine’s temporary church is now being transformed into a community garden with the support of our funding.

Until 2019, an old, prefabricated building, set on an acre of land, was being used for St Catherine’s Church while the main church building was being completed. This building played a significant role for local people as it housed a number of community and social enterprise groups including Proof Bakery - an inspirational bakery to help female refugees become qualified bakers.

However, after numerous years of leaking, the portacabin was finally deemed unsafe in December 2021. Church leaders consulted extensively with residents and church members to find an alternative use of the space that would meet local needs. Residents and church members said that high quality green space for adults and a play space for children were the top priorities. Since then, the church has been fundraising for the project, which includes a children’s play space, a garden room with an accessible toilet and small kitchen, a BBQ area, raised beds for vegetable and plant growing, seating, a nature zone and a food bank store. 
 
The land sits in an area where there are high levels of deprivation and no safe areas where the community can meet. This little piece of land will mean a lot to local people.
 
The project is now well underway, with the final component, the Garden Room, due to be installed by the end of November. 
 
Several funders have generously contributed to the project, including a £16,000 grant from our Community Impact Grants programme.
 
Project Leader, Helen Tebbatt, said: “It is extremely exciting to see that site being transformed into a safe outside space that all can use. Fundraising has been hard work and we’re very grateful to all the funders.”
 
The Garden will be accessible to anyone to drop in during daylight hours, including food bank users and groups who book space in the church building. 
 
Paul Playford, Senior Grants and Operations Officer for Benefact Trust, said: “It’s a privilege to support the creation of St Catherine’s Community Garden, which will be a valuable space for local people of all ages. The garden will be an oasis away from the stresses of daily life, where the community can gather and connect.”

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