On October 23rd, 2014, we updated our
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The St. John's with St Peter’s Project aims to save two of Chester's most sacred and historically vital spaces for the community and the nation, by opening up access and making them exciting places to be.
The future of St. John's and St. Peter's Churches is dependent on engaging the community and welcoming new people through their doors.
The Project seeks to engage all sections of the community and establish links to other key heritage sites and open up other lost heritage sites within the city.
Our buildings need to be sustainable and self sufficient and over the coming years the Project aims to make St. John’s and St. Peter’s multifunctional by offering a wide range of services to all sectors of the community.
The Project seeks to promote the urgent conservation and enhancement of Chester’s two oldest churches.
It will bring history alive through technology, guides and history re-enactments to create two first-class visitor attractions that people will want to get involved with, as guests and as volunteers.
It seeks to become a hub for individuals and organizations around Chester that are active in understanding, conserving and/or telling the local story for the benefit of present and future generations.
It will provide a resource for formal and informal learning.
Preservation and Restoration: Preserve for future generations St. John’s and St. Peter’s churches by increasing awareness of their history and heritage.
Community Engagement: Communicate and engage with the wider community and welcome excluded, powerless and marginalized members of society whilst finding creative solutions to problems, barriers and conflicts.
Environmental Improvement: Provide a safe and stimulating environment for all, so that we can utilize our magnificent buildings to their full potential.
Skill Sharing: Share our skills and expertise across the Third Sector for the benefit of both organizations.
Social Enterprise: Create innovative solutions to overcome, through social enterprise, our current lack of financial resources.
Educational Links: Promote education by developing stronger links with schools and universities across the UK.
Volunteer Enrichment: Nurture and support our volunteers and offer meaningful opportunities.
Environmental Protection: Reduce our environmental impact through low consumption and internal recycling targets.
MAKING OUR HISTORIC BUILDINGS BETTER KNOWN
Despite previous appeals, St. John’s has not yet received the publicity it merits.
St.John's deserves to be better known by larger populations. For this reason
'The SJP Project' has been launched.
RESTORATION AND IMPROVEMENT
It is a primary aim of the Parochial Church Council and SJP Project to commence
necessary restoration work to preserve the fabric of the building. A secondary aim
is to look at a comprehensive scheme of improvement that will enable St. John’s and
St. Peter’s to be used for a variety of secular purposes as well as the sacred.
FOR OUR CHURCHES TO BECOME MULTI-FUNCTIONAL AND SUSTAINABLE
To provide services across all sectors, from an IT learning centre to a full arts
programme, from rock concerts to Shakespeare productions, and engaging and offering
facilities for socially disadvantaged groups.
PROVIDE VALUE TO THE COMMUNITY
Provide a safe and stimulating environment for the community and visitors to
become the number one heritage destination of choice within the city of Chester
and to restore concepts from the earliest times whereby the buildings would be at
the heart of the community.
OPEN HERITAGE NETWORK
Work with all partners across the city to make a generic, easy linked visitor
experience modelled on the ‘Wrexham Open Church Network’ idea. This aim is to
be developed between years five to ten in the project phase.
COMMUNICATE AWARENESS OF OUR HERITAGE
To deliver two new guide books, one for St. Peter’s and one for St. John’s as an
interactive visitor experience linked into the national curriculum and student
development programmes in local universities.
MAXIMISE FUNDING POTENTIAL
Our financial position and the state of our buildings mean that we have to use them
in new ways, both traditional and innovative, whilst at all times conserving our national assets.
BECOME A KEY PLAYER IN PROMOTING AND DEVELOPING THE HERITAGE
St. Peter’s@thecross holds a unique potential. St Peter’s is the centre of the city and
can become a hub and a connection point for all the historic sites and restoring the
Pentus to its full potential.
We keep our churches open daily for residents of Chester and visitors wishing
to enjoy a quiet time for reflection or prayer, as well as for those wishing
to appreciate its history and architecture.
St. John’s and St. Peter’s require a large amount of conservation and improvement
work to make sure they can continue to stay open.
St. John’s undoubtedly is a Church. Fortunately we recognise that St. John's is also
an important visitor attraction. However, the upkeep for St. John's as a
tourist attraction is becoming too costly for the Parish alone. As a result of this,
the near future may bring the Church Council's decision to be that St. John's
will only open for services.
This would be a tragic loss for the people of Chester and a missed attraction for
Chester's visitors. To counteract this effect, two years ago we launched the
‘ SJP Heritage Project’. Over the last two years we have recruited over forty
volunteers, launched two websites (www.parishofchester.com and
www.sjproject.co.uk ) and on the 28 th of April 2009, in the presence of the
Duke Of Westminster, initiated a ten year restoration appeal.
We have received regional media attention, both TV and press including four
front page stories. We have worked with ‘The History Channel’ on a programme
which aired in late 2009.
We are continually improving our visitor experience, by offering guided tours of
our historic buildings, refreshment facilities and a small shop within St. John’s,
entirely run by volunteers. We have also raised our profile by working closely
with local key partners such as ‘Chester Renaissance’.
We are developing multifunctional use options for our buildings, these include,
history re-enactment, community IT access facilities and we are looking to expand
on our musical concerts and theatre production programmes.
So far our efforts currently have led to a donation of £500,000 from His Grace
The Duke of Westminster. Plus we are partnering with ‘English Heritage’ who
has offered £80,000 for the first stage of restoration work and has developed
the cost and structure for the second stage. A full strategic plan is currently
being developed to lead to the restoration and conservation of the two
Aim is have the best Parish website church in UK
To be at top of Google and all search engines
For the website to become award winning
To be used as tool to promote parish and our brand name
To become a small revenue stream
To have an easy to use media site for press releases
For site information base for all churches in Chester area
Links to lots of local community groups
Start to promote site much more and make sure related sites have link to us i.e. WWW.VISTCHESTER.CO.UK
Project Aims in 2010
Formalise roles, responsibilities and structure of the organisation needed to achieve the aims
Develop and publish a full strategic plan for St. John’s and St. Peter’s for the next 10 years.
Commence to move from being 100% reliant on volunteers to a small partly funded and paid core team tasked with the delivery of key objectives.
Increase the volunteer base and their engagement.
Develop a full marketing plan to engage visitors from all over the world to come and visit our national assets.
Project Aims in 2010
Promote St John’s and St Peter’s current music programmes and examine the case for expanding programme into other genres such as theatre.
Start upper stonework repair and restoration.
Structural and cost review of the overall organisation and how it can work better for the future.
Develop Chester Living History Project
Introduce environmental impact and CO2 targets. Also introduce balance score card and people counters.
Project Aims in 2010
Introduce counselling drop zone in St Peter’s in partnership with Mind and The Samaritans.
Engage with academic institutions, the local authority and national bodies on our programme and to work with key local partners on delivering our strategic aims.
Develop relationships with the Wrexham Open Church Network.
Develop our friends and restoration appeal to drive donations to our cause.
Upgrade of SJ Project Website delivering on all our strategic aims.
Project Aims in 2011
Funding bid for the repair and restoration of the roof of St John’s.
Funding bid for lighting enhancement for St Peter’s.
Launch “Sacred Space Programme” – a way that people can book and use our spaces .
Develop the Trading for Our Future Programme – to create and enhance space for the benefit of our visitors and community whilst becoming sustainable and financially viable.
Project Aims in 2011
A functional “Living History Programme” engaging with schools, youth groups and tourists.
Visitor interpretation and storyboards
A very clear communication outside all our buildings to let people know that they are ‘Open for all to enjoy’.
Use social networking as a new form of PR to develop and promote our cause.
Develop a solution for removable stage for performances in St John’s and improve seating comfort with funding bid to deliver by 2013.
Project Aims in 2012
As part of our “Trading for Our Future” Programme introduce a new Pilgrims’ Rest refreshment area and new gift shop and heritage and Christian book centre within St John’s Church.
Start the work on the roof to make the building a more comfortable environment.
Introduce the “Arts and Theatre” Programme with clear marketing based on St Martin-in-the-Field, London.
Develop the “IT@TheCross”’s brand-name; look at opening up St Peter’s South Gallery as community IT space, Heritage Active and learning centre.
Project Aims in 2012
New lighting for St Peter’s
Open up St Peter’s for longer; this building right at the heart of the City deserves to be open not just between 10am-4pm
Launch the @TheCross programme – a Fresh Expression and outreach programme, partnering with the Centre and Chester Churches Together.
Funding bid to overhaul historic organ in St John’s
Project Aims in 2013
Refurbishment and enhancement of the facilities at St Peter’s new shop, furniture, storyboard etc. Joint project between St Peter’s Centre and parish.
Overhaul organ at St. John’s.
Chester Living History to be thriving and active with a target of 100 school groups within the year.
Start to apply for funding for sustainable heating environment with low environmental impact for St John’s.
Full product range available in new gift shops with own commissioned guide books and post cards etc.
Project Aims in 2014
A clear funding bid for Cheshire West Open Church Network working with our partners in Wrexham.
A community video drop zone based in St Peter’s engaging with young people on social media and video production.
Full reheat programme to make St John’s warm and comfortable.
Look at the viability of an extension on the side of St John’s to be used as a new cafe and visitor multimedia experience; or a more cost-effective option of a mezzanine floor based on the new refectory and shop at Liverpool Cathedral
Project Aims in 2015
Look at opening up the Chapter House in St John’s as a visitor centre.
Funding bid for enhancement for lighting and PA for St John’s.
Funding bid for virtual pods for virtual tour in St. John’s.
Re-evaluate our strategic plan and where we are with our strategic aims, to update .
Our Trading for the Future Programme will be delivering financial results so its income can be reinvested back into the restoration.
Project Aims in 2015
Another structural review on making our organisation work better.
Make St John’s a visitor attraction of choice contributing to Chester as a worthy European visitors’ destination.
Full programme for arts, theatre, heritage and community linked in and exciting
Project Aims in 2016
Improvement in lighting and new PA system for St John’s.
Open up Chapter House as a new visitor centre so people can enjoy this beautiful hidden, lost building.
Review the overall seating and comfort of St John’s ready for the 2017 Cheshire West plan for the City of Culture.
Introduce virtual pods with virtual tour in St John’s.
Look at extending the space and enhancing the proposition of the community cafe in St Peter’s and introduce virtual video tour of Chester into St Peter’s in the new Heritage Active project.
Project Aims in 2017
To be sustainable and not donor- and grant-led
To be an exciting place to be, engaging with all sections of the community
To roll out the Open Church Network across Cheshire West
For our buildings to be part of the centre of the cultural activities of the city.
.To share our best practices and development across the heritage sector and our journey.
To move to an electronic delivery model, to become completely paperless.