ST CUTHBERT'S TRUST
St. Cuthbert’s Trust (SCT) was established in 2012 to increase the use of Kirkcudbright Parish Church by the local and wider community and to achieve sustainability. Its charitable aims are, to organise community activities for educational, leisure and other purposes, to advance religion, arts and culture, and also to promote other activities to improve the general wellbeing of the public.
The original idea was to develop the church building as a ‘community hub’ with a café/restaurant and partitioning to provide space for offices and meetings. This was rejected in a report commissioned by SCT from the Creetown Initiative Consultants*, which recommended that changes to the Church interior should be confined to bringing it to a better and more flexible space for worship, public events and performances. The report suggested that the Church develop its role as a venue for appropriate events within the overall plans for the town – working with the new Kirkcudbright Development Trust to maximise coordination between organisations, facilities and activities.
The report recommended that funding for improvement of the Church interior be sought from a variety of arts and other organisations, and that funding opportunities for restoration of the historically important organ should also be explored.
To progress matters:
a) Seek approval in principle for the concept from the Congregational Board, Kirk Session, Congregation and Presbytery to further explore the SCT approach.
b) Representative from SCT, the Board and Session to meet with the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland to discuss plans and the feasibility of SCT obtaining a lease of the building from the General Trustees on terms agreeable to all parties. Without such a lease it is understood that the SCT would be unable to apply for significant funding resources to refurbish the building, it already having been noted that Grants are rarely given to Church buildings or faith groups; usually such funding is through the form of a loan which has to be repaid. The terms of the lease including any rental paid by the Congregation would have to be agreed by all parties. Whilst the Congregation would have to pay a rent it is thought that this would be offset by the savings made in heating, insurance and general upkeep of the building.
c) Draw up a Business Plan for approval by the Congregational Board / Session / Congregation. If approved the Plan will be submitted to Presbytery and the General Trustees. Only after these approvals can the Plan be implemented. Some of the
modifications to the Church being proposed are as follows:
• Take out the pews downstairs and replace them with chairs.
• Build toilets and a kitchen.
• Improve the raking of the galleries to bring them into use for larger audiences.
• Install an audio visual system capable of transmitting services and events to the outside world,
and for films.
• Form a mechanically operated raising/lowering dais for use as a stage in front of the pulpit as
required. And, more ambitiously
• Restore the Harrison & Harrison organ.
d) Minutes of all SCT meetings will be published on SCT website.
In the pursuit of achieving this work, it is acknowledged that the Congregation could seek to have the work carried out itself through securing of funding by way of a Congregational Appeal and application to funding sources available to the Congregation such as the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland for a loan. Such an approach would place a
considerable burden on the Congregation both in terms of human resources and the repayment of the loan. Whilst there are no accurate estimates available at present it is possible that the works could be in the order of £500,000 depending on the precise scope. However it is acknowledged that the work could be carried out in stages over several years.
An alternative approach is through SCT accessing the funding from sources not available to the Congregation and other faith groups and utilising the wider skills base within the community.
Another option which has been considered would be to form a Friends Group to offer support to the Congregation. However it is felt that this Group would be highly unlikely to raise the necessary funds without some legal arrangement over the lease of the building.
We need to know what you think, so please send a comment via the website (below) or email us at email@example.com. Alternatively write your comments and post it in the SCT box which is located in the church foyer. If however you would prefer to discuss the matter then please contact Kathreen Hope-Dunbar by speaking to her either directly or by telephone on 01557 330424. It would be helpful if we could receive any comments you wish to make by Monday 14th March 2016.
*Economic Needs Study July 2015 see website www.stcuthbertstrust.org
St Cuthbert’s Trust is a registered charity: number SC044173