FWP designs extension for thriving church

Inglewhite Congregational Church near Preston in rural Lancashire has appointed architecture practice the Frank Whittle Partnership to design a £450,000 extension to cater for its growing congregation.

The project on Silk Mill Lane will add space for worship as well as rooms for junior church community and youth activities to the Grade 2-listed building which dates back to 1826 and sits within a conservation area.

Martin Whittle, managing partner of FWP, which has offices in Preston and Manchester, said: "We have designed a sensitive extension to this listed building, which is very much in keeping with the village and which will be a major asset to the church. The church is thriving and the extension will allow it to continue to grow and to offer modern facilities for the congregation and wider community. This is a significant investment in the church and in its future.

"Adapting a listed church building for modern use requires a high level of sensitivity and skill in liaising with the community and the planners to deliver the right project for the church and village.

"From the Church Membership point of view our ability to understand their needs and to develop a vision that realises their ambition, on time and to budget, is a key factor in our appointment."

The church will move out of the village while building work is carried out and is currently looking for a new location in the area.

Inglewhite Congregational Church hosts toddlers groups and a youth club as well as a coffee shop and ladies guild.

Pastor John Irwin has been at Inglewhite for four years. He said: "We are continuing to move forward. The extension is the result of our growth and the fact that as a result our present building is just too small for our needs.

"One option was to move but people come here from a wide area and we feel Inglewhite is our home. It is a genuinely caring and kind community and we want our future to be here. FWP has designed an extension which will allow us to do this and is also very much in keeping with the existing church and the village here. We are very pleased with the plans and excited to see the project develop and building work get underway.

"The extension will open up the building whilst also fitting in perfectly with what we already have here. There will be more room for the children and a bigger area for worship. It will also give worshippers a more modern type of experience."

Inglewhite's congregation has grown to around 150 and they will be informed of the alternative arrangements for worship during the building work shortly.

The project is expected to take six months and building work is scheduled to start in March next year.

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