Vestry@50 Appeal for The Thomas Field Hall
Just over 50 years ago the Vicar, Churchwardens and people of this parish had a vision and took the bold step of building a separate extension on the north side of our wonderful church, to provide a vestry, meeting room, kitchen and toilet and joining it to the main building with an Ambulatory. The good news is that it is still standing and serving a purpose—but to a limited extent! Its facilities are now well below modern standards, and, most of all, it is just not big enough for our purposes of developing the church as a community building as well as a place of worship. Now, 50 years on, the Vicar and Churchwardens and the Parochial Church Council have a new vision to upgrade, modernise and enlarge the extension.
The Thomas Field Hall was officially opened on 19 September 2021
Latest Project Updates:
Click on the red headings to see more.
- Thomas Field Hall Officially Opened: We Have Finally Made it!Just over 15 months from the start of the building works the Thomas Field Hall was officially opened. The ceremony was performed after a special service last Sunday, 19th September, by Bishop Michael, the Bishop of Hertford. The church was full (by Covid standards) to hear the Bishop’s encouraging words about the achievement of the …
- Thomas Field Hall: Waiting to Open…The Hall is almost finally complete and we are waiting to open the doors. But they will have to remain closed until the end of June, assuming that the COVID-19 restrictions on movement are lifted by then. As soon as it is possible to open them we will have access via the Ambulatory door from …
- Thomas Field Hall: Covering UpIt is inevitable that there will be cables and pipework left exposed in unexpected and awkward places, and they need covering up. We are now designing cupboards and units to store vestments and paperwork, books and records and also conceal these horrors.
- Thomas Field Hall: The Finishing TouchesThe finishing touches: the building is finished at last and we are now putting in the furnishings and fittings. First to go up are the curtains which make the Hall look more welcoming. We did remember to ask the builders to put in extra reinforcement in the shape of plywood behind the plasterboard so that …
- Thomas Field Hall: Completion!Completion! Well, Practical Completion… Last Friday, 26th February, was a milestone. We received the keys to the Thomas Field Hall after Practical Completion was reached.
For a collection of all updates on the Thomas Field Hall, click here.
September 2021 Project Update:
The Hall is Opened
Just over 15 months from the start of the building works the Thomas Field Hall was officially opened on Sunday, 19th September 2021, by Michael, the Bishop of Hertford.
June 2020 Project Update:
At long last, after weeks of delay and frustration, the latest caused by the spread of the coronavirus infection, our builders started the building works on Monday, 8th June 2020. Obviously they cannot guarantee that there will not be delays either within their workforce or externally with suppliers and subcontractors, and if these happen then we will deal with them as best we can. However, they have done their best to confirm orders and set up deliveries and have worked up a programme.
If all goes well the building should be finished early in 2021. The construction work will be carried out during the summer months, which should allow ample daylight and hopefully good weather, and as the days draw in the finishing works will be mostly internal and not affected by shortening daylight hours, giving the builders the best conditions in which to work. There will be problems – there always are – but we hope that overall the project will be completed as efficiently as possible.
April 2020 Project Update:
You will not be surprised to read that the building work for the Thomas Field Hall is a casualty of the Covid 19 crisis. The Diocese is only allowing essential works to continue, so we have to wait until sanctions are lifted and work is permitted to start. We hope that the fine weather will continue for several weeks to come so that we will be able to take advantage of it.
March 2020 Project Update:
Ground Broken for Thomas Field Hall
On the morning of Monday 2 March 2020, ground was broken in Little Gaddesden churchyard at the start of works to build the Thomas Field Hall.
The first cut in the soil was made by the vicar, the Revd John Russell, seen here accompanied by two of the building contractors, the site archaeologist, and churchwarden Barbara Sheard, who originated the design of the new hall. They are gathered round the headstone of Thomas Field, after whom the hall is to be named.
January 2020 Project Update:
We have been working hard over the past 18 months since our first Appeal leaflet was produced (see below) and we have made great progress. This is where we are now:
We have achieved:
- Full Planning Approval and Listed Building Consent to the detailed design.
- A complete set of architect’s detailed drawings (see below for a few examples) and Specification.
- Selecting a Building Contractor and agreeing a price.
- Selecting a specialist Glazing Sub-Contractor.
- Signing Contracts with the Building Contractor and Glazing Sub Contractor.
- A date for starting the building works and a programme for carrying them out.
- Architectural supervision of the construction of the building.
- An Archaeological survey team ready to start.
- A Faculty application to the Diocese being processed.
- Funding for the works 95% achieved – see separate Financial Update below.
All of which means that in March 2020 we will start building Phase 1 of The Thomas Field Hall for the use of the whole village community and more. This is a tremendous achievement and we would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the Appeal so far and encourage any other and further donations to reach our final total to complete the entire project.
Barbara Sheard, Michael Carver
October 2020 Financial Update:
We have now raised £500,000 so far from a variety of sources including very many generous donations from people in the village and well-wishers. Of this figure, £165,000 has been contributed from Church reserve funds and £35,000 from grants. To fulfil our ambitions and complete the project delivering a first-class hall with modern and easily maintainable facilities we need to raise a further £15,000.
January 2020 Financial Update:
In April 2018 we commenced raising monies for the above project with the intention of raising £250,000 and using £150,000 or our current reserves.
This target was based on initial estimates supplied to us by our appointed architect.
We had raised 90% of the monies by the summer of 2019, and then made the decision to scale back the fund raising activities until we had firm quotations from a number of building companies. Unfortunately when the quotations were received they were all considerably higher than had been initially forecast. After selecting the building company, based on price, quality and experience of undertaking similar projects we then met with the owner and managed to achieve a number of savings.
We now have over 85% of our final costs based on firm quotations, and the monies we require to complete the whole project including upgraded church heating and all the necessary fixtures and fittings is £635,000 including VAT.
It was decided therefore, to divide the project into Phase 1 and Phase 2.
Phase 1 includes all building work, professional fees, PCC costs and contingency costs appertaining thereto. The cost to complete this phase is £553,000 including VAT.
Phase 2 includes the church heating, fitting out costs, CCTV costs and contingency costs appertaining thereto. The cost to complete this phase is £82,000 including VAT.
Since learning of the increased costs we have been contacting potential donors again and starting new Grant applications.
The current financial position is extremely encouraging. We have raised £247,000 including firm pledges and two grants. Therefore including our reserves of £150,000 our total now stands at £397,000. However you will note the above targets include VAT. As Treasurer I am confident we will recover almost all of our VAT back through the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme amounting to £97,000.
That means we have, in effect, raised £494,000 (£397,000 + £97,000).
The remaining target to complete Phase 1 is therefore £59,000. However I am delighted to report we have a donor who will match any future donation towards this target pound for pound up to 50% maximum, which means we just need to raise £29,500 including Gift Aid. Assuming all donations are Gift Aided then the net donations required are now £23,600.
Based on the above success, we convened a full PCC committee meeting on 30th December 2019 and received unanimous approval to sign a contract with the building company early in January 2020 with building work starting at the end of March.
This means that we can make our first application for the repayment of VAT in time to claim for it on our early professional fees incurred at the beginning of 2019, as any invoice above 12 months old cannot be considered for the grant. Also we wanted to lock in the builder’s prices as any delay could lead to a further increase.
It was discussed and unanimously agreed that although not all the monies were raised we would still be proceeding, as it was not really an option to cancel at this stage as we have already spent £30,000, mainly on various professional fees.
It was also unanimously agreed that we should continue now to raise all the monies including the requirements to complete Phase 2.
In conclusion we therefore need to raise a further £111,500 to complete everything. However if further donations include Gift Aid then the net amount we need to raise is £89,200.
I would appeal to all those persons on the Electoral Role, or live in the village, who read this report and who have not yet donated to please give as generously as you can, and to those who have already donated, could you please give a little more.
This project will be of benefit to all church attendees, villagers and the wider community for many years to come.
A copy of the Gift Aid form can be downloaded here:
Thank you for your kind consideration and donations to date.
Here’s what we said in our original Appeal leaflet:
- Warmer rooms
- Disabled access
- A functional kitchen
- A larger main room
- A larger Ambulatory
- Wider access from the church into the Ambulatory
- To lay insulation on the floor and the walls of the existing building.
- To replace the windows with double glazed units.
- To re-order the toilet and sacristy kitchen to make a disabled access toilet.
- To convert the priest’s vestry into a kitchen.
- To increase the size of the choir vestry to make a small hall with a vaulted ceiling. The new hall will be called The Thomas Field Hall.
- To extend and re-roof the Ambulatory using state-of –the-art glazing techniques to form a glazed lobby to the hall.
- To enlarge the doorway from the church into the Ambulatory and remove the step down.
This means that there will be more space for:
- Coffee mornings
- Sunday School
- Messy Church
- Holiday club
- Lent Lunches
- Receptions after funerals
- Concerts and rehearsals
- Meetings and film nights
- Workshops and keep fit
These facilities will be accessible separately from the main church and will be available for use by anyone in the village or wider community.
We have achieved:
- Planning Approval
- DAC Approval from the Diocese
The original vestry building was constructed in a traditional style and cost the sum of £3,750, an amount which then would buy a small house. The total cost of the proposed refurbishment and extension, with VAT, is estimated at about £400,000 of which the church has just over a third in its fund. We therefore need to raise about £250,000 to cover the estimated costs and any unforeseen problems which might arise.
- Appointing an Architect
- Appointing a Structural Engineer
The Church Heating
In the cold winter of 2017-18 no-one could question that the church always felt cold. We therefore wish to take this opportunity to replace the boiler with a new one, which will be more economical to run, and to replace the heaters with more efficient ones. The cost of all this is included in the above estimate.
How to help
The most important way to help!
Each and every donation will be valued and gratefully received. Each will be anonymous unless requested otherwise. There is a separate page detailing the different ways in which donations can be made – and see the link below – but essentially they are:
- A One Off Donation
- A Donation given in regular instalments
- A Legacy
If given with Gift Aid the value of the Donation is increased by 25% which makes a big difference.
Be enthusiastic about the project Talk about it to others. Think of Fund Raising ideas. Imagine the activities which could go on in the new hall.
Give of your time to help:
- At fund raising events and other times.
- To follow up grant applications.
If you wish to donate to the Vestry@50 Appeal, please make this purpose clear when making your gift.
However you choose to help, your support will be very welcome – and will be appreciated by this and future generations