The Nutgrove Community Centre is a newly built Community Centre which was opened on 1st Februaryy 2013. It has been and still is fully funded by the Sankey Valley Methodist Circuit. It houses the Play Days Children’s Nursery which commenced on 25th February 2013 following approval by OFSTED.
This project had its origins in the former St. Helens and Prescott Circuit and it began with a feasibility study asking whether it was practical, in architectural, financial and missional term for the scout hut adjacent to the site of Nutgrove Church to be refurbished to house a nursery.
The upshot of that was that it was feasible in financial and missional terms, but not architecturally. To cut a very long story short, at a Circuit meeting, it was decided that following a lengthy period of consultation and prayerful reflection, it was not only feasible, in every sense, to develop a new building on the site of the scout hut to house the nursery, but that it was the right thing to do.
Following an extremely protracted build period, fraught with unexpected difficulties, the certificate of practical completion of the building was handed over by the builder, Paragon Construction, on Friday 1st February 2013.
The building was inspected by OFSTED and approved and Play Days Nursery began operations from there on Monday 25th February 2013. This achieved the project’s first objective of securing the intake to our adjacent Methodist Aided Primary School.
The nursery has started using the building for 7 morning sessions a week but now run afternoon sessions too. They also can collect children from the adjactent Primary School at 3:15 PM and look after them until 6:00 PM. Outside of the time the building is being used by the nursery, the room can be used for other Church and Community purposes, provided that they can work around the fact that there will be toys etc. around the edge of the room, or in one part of the room.
The new building also houses a small meeting room, which might form the venue for informal conversations.
It was clear from the outset that the provision of a new building to house the nursery offered the opportunity for the Circuit to work with the parents of the children in both school and nursery – the generations missing from most of our Churches. It is our aspiration that some new form of worshipping community can be built out of this opportunity. What has never been clear and still isn’t, is the exact form of that community.
It may be that this produces a midweek act of worship radically different from anything that currently happens on Sundays, but it will be responding to the needs that the parents themselves express, rather than forcing our way of being Church on them.
There are no guarantees – it’s a leap of faith, but we’ve known that all along.