Buckland re-opening – What a Difference!
The Lord Mayor was there. The Deputy Mayor was there. The Leader of Portsmouth City Council was there. They were all very impressed. But all impressed with what? The newly modernised Buckland URC. They had all known the place over the years, had known it when it was the vast Victorian “pile” which was no longer fit for purpose, and now had come to see and to celebrate the newly fitted out interior.
It’s difficult to know what word to use, actually. Modernised? Revamped? Rebuilt? To all intents and purposes, from the outside, the place looks just the same. The two main entrances to the building have got new, more modern, more easily accessible and more attractive entrances. You would be forgiven for thinking that not much has changed.
But step inside, Love – as Cilla Black used to sing – and it hits you between the eyes. Straight in to the café area, with a sparkling modern kitchen over to the left, and then through in to the smaller worship area – smaller, but still fairly big and able to hold a decent sized congregation. But it’s so bright, and airy, and comfortable.
Gone is all the darkness of the wooden pews and the huge pulpit – the wood was attractive but it was also fairly oppressive. New and comfortable chairs, bright white-painted walls, new altar, lectern, font and chairs at the front, new up to the minute sound and projection equipment .
And if you stand by the altar and look back, there is an upstairs as well. A Mezzanine – a fantastic space that has so much potential. I remembered when I had first come to Buckland, been shown around the tired premises, heard that at one stage they had even considered making it in to a skate park, which at least would be useful to the local kids.
Now it’s useful to far more people, an attractive place to be, which will be a boost to the local community as well. It is good. It is quality. It has been beautifully done. It will be a boost to the community and the people of one of the poorer parts of Portsmouth, because it is for them….. and they deserve it.
Cliff has been here about 4 years – just a bit over. In that time they have adapted the building plans to make them more manageable, done things so they could fund-raise in stages, galvanised and enthused a small and not wealthy congregation, raised a lot of money and done something which is in line with what the Local Community wants and needs.
It’s also one of the biggest and best visual aids you could find for trying to persuade other people that they might be able to do the same. So if you want to take a look and talk about how Buckland reached this point, do get in touch. It might be the best thing you ever do.
Contact David Wrighton, Team Leader, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org