St Paul’s is one of two churches in the Parish of St Matthew and St Paul. It was built in the late 19th Century when local church provision was inadequate to serve the expanding population brought in by the nearby railway.
The area was disadvantaged, principally made up of small houses for railway workers and their families. Over time this demographic has changed and St Paul’s now serves a socially mixed area of Winchester.
The church has an extensive community programme, but unfortunately the building was not fit for purpose, lacking kitchen and toilet facilities and level flooring.
“St Paul’s is a fantastic blueprint for other churches looking to modernise their facilities and ensure their church is accessible for all.
“We were proud to support the project and hear that our grant encouraged other funders to get on board and support this wonderful building.” – Paul Playford, Grants Officer for Benefact Trust
The ‘Building for Life’ project has transformed the church into a safe space for all ages and abilities, with the addition of lifts and ramps that allow full wheelchair access to the worship area and new gallery; new accessible toilets within the building; a kitchen with professional equipment; a modern office space; and a new chapel and meeting areas.
The building work will ensure that the church can thrive as a community hub, enhancing worship and offering opportunities for new activities and events.
Although the pandemic slowed down the project, the building is now open and the congregation can start to enjoy the amazing new space as Covid restrictions ease.