Improving our Historic Buildings for 21st Century Use

We are having the builders in – to fit a bi-fold door system under our balcony area. This will improve the sanctuary area of our buildings, enabling us to make the area under the balcony into a separate room, but keeping full visibility of the sanctuary area.

We are grateful to the Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust for a generous grant to support this work – recognising the value of improving historic buildings for use in the 21st century. We are also grateful for a grant from AllChurches Trust.

The new bi-fold doors will enable a ‘self-service’ creche area to be created during our services – so little ones can toddle and make a noise while the church gathering continues. The glass doors will enable the supervising parent to continue being part of the gathering, with audio and visual relayed into that area. The new doors also effectively add a mid-size meeting room to our premises, which can be used or hired our mid-week.

Part of the improvements will include adding glazing to the doors from our front lobby into the sanctuary area, enabling people to see in. We are pleased to make this improvement because for the past two hundred years it seems that are sanctuary area is one of Ely’s best kept secrets! Time after time, when someone enters the area for the first time they say: “Such a great space – how come I lived here so many years and never knew it existed!”. As a church we want our buildings to be open and accessible as much as possible – this will be a welcome improvement.

At Countess Free Church we are all about people! As a church we are blessed with our buildings on Chapel Street, very near the centre of the city. To support the work and activities of the church we want to make the best use of the buildings as we can – restoring and improving as we go.

Project supported by the Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust