Will parts of the church be open while work is going on?
No, for safety reasons the church will have to be closed while work is carried out. This will also enable contractors to carry out construction in the most efficient and cost effective way.
Will the churchyard be open?
We realise this is an important aspect for so many people in our community. Details of access arrangements to the churchyard are still being discussed with contractors and although access will have to be restricted for safety reasons it should be possible for visits to be arranged through church representatives working with contractors.
Where will services and other church events be held?
Assuming restrictions needed to contain the Covid 19 virus ease to a point where gatherings can be held, the Thakeham Village Hall will be our main venue for services and other events. All arrangements will of course be subject to guidance in place at the time. Meanwhile our popular live and recorded services via the internet will continue.
Will the Church Rooms be in use?
The Church Rooms will not be in use. Instead, smaller gatherings will be held in homes, at the Rectory or at the Village Hall, subject to Government guidance in place at the time.
When will the work be finished?
The pandemic delayed the start date, originally planned to be spring 2020. If we start work in September 2020 we would expect to finish phase 2 by spring 2021. Subject to funding availability, other phases could be completed by autumn 2021 This will depend on external factors too, e.g. the level of restrictions due to Covid 19 including availability of materials and, last but not least, the weather.
Who are the contractors and how were they chosen?
Competitive tenders were invited from a number of contractors, all of whom were deemed by church architects and our quantity surveyor to be capable of delivering the project. A preferred contractor, Thames Valley Builders, were chosen on the basis of a competitive price as well as appropriate project management capability, technical knowledge, understanding of the work, sound financial position and a good track record of carrying out similar work previously.
Why don’t we have enough money to complete all phases of work and what are we doing about it?
Since the project started major maintenance (e.g. stonework repairs) had to be included because recent detailed surveys and tests revealed a need for extensive external work. This is not cheap! Also, all tenders returned quoted slightly higher prices than suggested by professional estimates carried out last year. To address this issue we are in the process of applying for grants and VAT refunds and we shall also be looking for donations to enable us to make our church as welcoming and as functional as it can be.
What can I do to help?
Please continue to pray for the work and the team. If you’re able to, consider financial contributions so we can finish all the work and make our 12th century, grade 1 listed church building a much more welcoming space for all to worship, pray and enjoy community events together.