Our Hill Street project management team have drawn up some exciting and ambitious plans to transform the former Baptist Church into a special place from which to help Poole’s vulnerably housed achieve lasting positive change in their lives.
We are delighted to announce that we have now received approval for these plans and have been granted Listed Building Consent.
The new layout incorporates important facilities such as showers, toilets and a laundry in addition to dedicated areas where clients will receive 1-1 support from outreach workers for addiction and mental health support and access to nurses, chiropodists and housing and benefit advisors.
The first of our pews at Hill Street have been removed and this is an exciting milestone in the transformation of our building! We still have a few one-ended pews available if you are interested. Ross (pictured) can help remove and restore them. His contact details are available from our office.
Four local professionals have offered their expertise free of charge, making sure that the Hill Street renovation project is completed to the highest of standards.
Architect, Ken Morgan RIBA and co-founder of Dorset based Morgan Carey Architects has been instrumental in the ambitious re-design of the former Baptist church and in drawing up the plans and submitting them for approval. Commenting on his involvement, Ken said, “I am delighted to be part of the team responsible for converting the Hill Street Chapel as a base for Poole’s homeless community. It is an extremely worthwhile cause and one in which I have some personal interest.”
In June, Mark Cook of MC Plan and Site Services offered to do the Hill Street building control on a pro bono basis. “We are very passionate about supporting local charities such as Routes to Roots. As a Poole based business, what your charity is trying to do for homelessness in Poole is something very close to our hearts,” said Mark.
Structural Engineer, Brian Willis of BE Willis Consultant Civil and Structural Engineers has well over 50 years of experience in structural engineering and like Ken and Mark, has generously dedicated his time and expertise to ensure the building is structurally safe to proceed with renovations and will be on hand to inspect the renovation work until it is completed.
Sherborne-based lighting designer John Bullock has offered his services free following an introduction by Ken Morgan. John will not only do the lighting design for us but is also hoping to source good quality fixtures through his industry contacts and the on-line magazine he publishes for the UK lighting industry. John says: “One of the enduring fallacies that we hear constantly is ‘we’re all in this together’, when – of course – we certainly do not all experience life equally. We are NOT all in this together. Initiatives like Routes to Roots help to bridge an inequality gap that we all should be ashamed of and I’m happy to be able to provide my knowledge to the success of this project.”
A full supply of office equipment has been donated for use in the new Hill Street centre by Albion Language Tour Company manager, Janet Wright.
Like many business owners during the start of the Coronavirus lockdown, Janet temporarily ceased operations while her overseas students were unable to travel to the UK. Realising she could work just as effectively from home, she decided to give up her large office space, leaving a big surplus of office furniture and equipment that she no longer had use for. Hearing about Routes to Roots and the Baptist church renovations, Janet donated it all to us. We are now the proud owner of a photocopier, three office settees, a coffee table for our sitting area, 12 tables, 30 stackable chairs, coat stands, cork boards, a filing cabinet and shelf room dividers. As a boxer and personal trainer, husband Lee has also kindly offered to give some 1-1 sessions to clients once we are up and running. Thank you so much Janet and Lee!