Our building, formerly the Methodist Church in West Street, closed for religious worship in 2012. The church has been a community venue in the village since the 1800s, with the current building erected in 1910.
From 2012 until 2015, the church was used on an informal basis once a week by Little Fishes, a toddler group, and the Hamdon Youth Group. In 2015 the church decided to apply for planning permission for change of use from community to residential. The Parish Council and residents were adamant that it remained a community and so registered the building on the Community Asset Register with the District Council. The planning application was then withdrawn.
The church went on the market in early 2016. Under Community Right to Bid legislation, the Parish Council was given 6 months in which to raise funds to buy the church and the right to have its bid considered first by the seller. However there is no obligation for the seller to accept that bid and the Parish Council found themselves up against a rival bidder who was offering more money.
During the 6 months period the Parish Council carried out feasibility studies to ensure that the Centre would be supported and financially viable and carried out extensive public consultation. A bid was made in the summer of 2016 and following formal presentations to the Methodist Church in the November by the two bidders, the church accepted the Parish Council’s lower bid. Funding for the purchase was secured by the Parish Council by a fixed interest 20 year loan of £150,000 from the Public Works Loan Board – £130,000 for the purchase price, and the balance for purchase costs and refurbishment of the building. The cost of the loan is paid by residents from the council tax each year
Following a protracted legal process title to the building was finally transferred to the Parish Council at the end of 2018. The process of updating and modifying the church has now started. The Centre will provide two large halls for use together with side rooms which will be converted into extra toilets, a small office and a fully fitted kitchen. It is run day to day by the service-user led charity Hamdon Youth & Family Centre Trust, and so has become a truly community led venue, both in its ownership by the village and in its management.