Hello, my name is Eileen White I am on the leadership team of Wantage Community Church. I am also the chair of a board of trustees for a new and exciting charity called Kingsgrove Community Hub.
Wantage Community Church does not own a building. We have, for a long time, dreamed of and prayed for a permanent home that we could make our own and use as a base to serve the community around us. This opportunity arose when new development of 1,500 homes was planned. to the northeast of Wantage.
When such a large development is planned the developers – in this case St Modwen – are obliged to provide facilities for the community such as schools, shops and a community hall. Bids were requested to run the community hall; Neil Townsend led a team to do exactly that. We were chosen as the organisation that would manage the community building now known as Kingsgrove Community Hub.
However, the standard size hall that was likely to be built (as funded by the 106 section of the development agreement) was soon recognised to be insufficient for the community it was going to serve, as well as being too small for the needs of Wantage Community Church. We wanted to create a welcoming Hub where the community could gather and enjoy warm hospitality and excellent facilities. We had a vision for a hall that would seat 350+ people, with several multifunctional rooms that could be adapted to suit different activities from which the community would benefit. It is now a £5 million project but we must raise the difference in cost, £1.7m. God has already provided £1m towards the build costs and all our legal and startup costs have been provided for. The other funds are from St Modwen the developer and we are very blessed by Thomas Homes, who are going to build the facility at a remarkable cost.
We needed to think about how to raise the remaining £700k and how we were going to run our new home so that it also serves the community. We concluded that the best way to do this was to create a charity. Every charity needs a board of Trustees and I, along with Ken Armour, Dan Harbour and Neil Townsend were appointed by OCC as the first trustees. One of our first tasks was to apply for Charitable status – KCH was already a company. We achieved this status in December 2022. Kingsgrove Community Hub is a non-faith child charity of Oxfordshire Community Churches.
As I am sure you can imagine we then had a lot of work to do! Below is a timeline of landmark events leading to the Hub being up and running.