Village community centre in medieval church building celebrates 10 year anniversary
19 July 2023
A church building in the village of Flordon in Norfolk was packed full on the evening of Saturday 15 July 2023 with people celebrating the 10th anniversary of its use as a community centre.
The church, which is an 11th century Grade 2* listed building, can be hired by local community groups for various activities thanks to the creative thinking of a group of villagers.
Flordon doesn’t have a village hall, so a committee came together over 10 years ago with the idea of renovating and modernising the church building for the village, whilst still maintaining it as a place of worship. In 2013, they applied to the Charity Commission and formed the Flordon Community Trust.
The Trust leases the church building, using it to provide a village hall for local people in Flordon and the surrounding area. The space is used for film clubs and parish council meetings, among other activities. This in turn provides money for the upkeep, maintenance and running costs of the church building.
Janet Negal is a long term church member at Flordon, her great grandparents are buried in the churchyard. She is also a member of the Parochial Church Council and the Flordon Community Trust.
“I am absolutely delighted the church is used in this way. It’s good for the church building structurally, as it’s not just standing still and getting damp. The church should be the heart of the village, whether people come here to worship God or as a community as friends together.”
Toby Howes, another church member, was instrumental in coming up with the idea over 10 years ago and getting it started. She was PPC Chair at the time.
“We took out the pews which were full of woodworm, and changed the stone flooring, which was uneven and damp. Now it’s level and easy to use. Once the committee came together, we used to meet once a month to move it forward.”
The work included improving the heating and lighting, installing a mains water supply and drainage, as well as a toilet suitable for disabled people and a kitchenette to serve food. Comfortable chairs were provided and sponsored by people with family links to Flordon.
Jess Stubonbord was Rector at Flordon at the time the work took place and has since retired. He was invited back to the village for the celebrations.
“The community group was fantastic. It’s so lovely to come back and see everyone. This is a great community space, as well as a place to worship the Lord.”
Revd Adrian Miller is the current vicar of Mulbarton Group of Churches, a group of four churches which includes Mulbarton, Bracon Ash, Hethel and Flordon. Adrian says;
“Bracon Ash have got their village hall charity and Mulbarton have theirs. Whereas in Flordon, there was no village or community hall, so this is a wonderful and creative way of using the church building to benefit everyone.”
The church is available to hire for local groups, if you’d like to find out more, visit Mulbarton Group | Community Centre – Activities (mulbchurch.org.uk)