For decades, the Rivergreen Methodist Hub in Clifton, south Nottingham, has been a vital asset to the community used by hundreds of people every week.
Unsurprisingly, it was showing its age, with internal and external work needed to bring it back up to scratch. So a fundraising effort was begun, with an ambitious target of £500,000 to pay for the work.
Benefact Trust, through its Methodist Grants Programme, was just one of a number of organisations which provided grants towards the cost.
‘From Scouts and Boys’ Brigade evenings, to mother-and-toddler groups, to clubs for the elderly, rarely a day goes by when Rivergreen isn’t in use,’ said church member and Nottingham and Derby District facilities manager Rosie Farrow. ‘Little had been done to the building since the 1970s, and when the District took over the trusteeship of the building, they decided to undertake a significant renovation.
‘The aim was to future-proof the Hub, and make it more suitable for a wide range of users and more environmentally-friendly. ‘Clifton is quite a deprived area, so it’s a very important resource but it’s also hard to find the money locally for something this big. We were tremendously grateful for the help of organisations such as Benefact Trust.’
Some of the work was structural – the removal of a stage, for instance, and the installation of a mezzanine floor with office space for the District HQ – and other parts were about bringing the building into the 21st century.
‘The toilets and the kitchen were completely refurbished,’ said Rosie, ‘and the old windows were replaced to make them more energy efficient. The flooring was replaced, the doors were widened and switched to fire doors, and a large new car park was built and security lighting put in. A new meeting and worship space with audio-visual facilities was created, and the entrance was revamped, too. We used a local firm to do the work because we wanted to minimise the carbon footprint associated with their travel.’
The fundraising began in 2019 and the project took around two years, meaning the work started in the early days of Covid.
‘The lockdowns definitely made things trickier,’ said Rosie, ‘but we managed to press on and get the work finished, and we’re absolutely thrilled with the result. I’d definitely advise others with projects of their own – large or small – to get in touch with the Methodist Grants Programme to see if they can help.’
Benefact Trust grants officer Paul Playford said, ‘It’s wonderful to see the assistance that we and others have been able to give being put to such good use. The Hub will provide local people with a great place to meet and socialise for many years to come.’