The Parish of North Wearside needs your help as we ‘gather, together to grow’. Holy Trinity, Southwick seeks to be a welcoming place where relationships can be developed and community connections celebrated. We are ideally placed to be a focal point and safe haven, pointing to and facilitating hope and transformation in our midst; however, our iconic and much loved building is in need of some updates and improvements. These will benefit all who use and visit the building, increasing our capacity to be a church and community resource for people of all ages, including the most vulnerable.
Holy Trinity, Southwick
Holy Trinity, Southwick is the oldest church in The Parish of North Wearside, Sunderland. The Parish of North Wearside is a Church of England Parish that sits north of the river Wear and spans from the Stadium of Light across to the A19. We have two Church buildings; Holy Trinity, Southwick, and St Cuthbert’s, Redhouse, plus a community project in St Bede’s on Town End Farm.
Holy Trinity was built in 1842-1845 to the designs of the Architect and Clerk Of Works to Durham Cathedral George L Jackson. It is a Grade II listed building situated on an area of elevated ground overlooking the River Wear to the south, bounded by Northern Way to the west, Church Bank to the south and the former rectory to the north. It is an urban site on the western fringe of Southwick Green.
We are a growing parish with a love of our community and a desire to see those in it thrive. We are an urban parish with a population around 36500, across a number of estates, ranked 391 on the Church of England deprivation statistics.
We seek to be an evolving authentic expression of Church, visible and valued in the local community; accessible to all, led by locally grown and nurtured leaders where we can hold our heritage and tradition alongside contemporary practices and ideas.
We want to be a church that is known to be welcoming and inclusive, where all can grow in confidence, faith and aspirations. We have a particular focus and desire to see this among young people, the socially isolated and elderly and those disadvantaged in some way.
What we need
The church is used regularly by a range of community groups, including an after school church, toddler group and a craft group. We also host an outreach community meal ‘Winter Warmer’ in the colder months. Winter Warmer draws people from across the parish and combats social isolation while teaching about healthy eating, developing relationships and building community.
We have reached capacity for what we can manage in the building as it stands. We want to be able to do more, to include and welcome more people and feed them - physically, spiritually and sacramentally. We have plans to set-up befriending and bereavement support, CAP debt advice and more community outreach events.
Over the next five years we have a lot of work to do. We have broken this down into three initial phases to make it more manageable and practical. Costs indicated are based on quotes and estimations so far received, though we recognise that these may change as the project goes on.
Urgent remedial repairs to the stonework and roof - cost £14,000
Upgrade toilet facilities to double the provision and ensure one is fully accessible - £10-12, 000
Kitchen improvements: including cosmetic work, upgrading cooking facilities, additional electrical points and updating the fire safety and accessibility - £3500
Electrical repairs and exchange of light fittings to more environmentally friendly LEDs - £2300
Installation of upgraded AV system to include better mics that meet the current legal requirements, and a large screen. This will improve our accessibility to users with hearing and visual impairments, and increase our flexibility - £3500
Install a fire exit push bar door to vestry, accessible ramp into the chancel, and fire safe door to upstairs office space - £1000
Phase one estimated total: £35,000
Increase and improve storage facilities for mid-week groups, including craft materials and children’s groups - estimated £2500
Increase the available capacity of the meeting room and make this a more flexible space by removing the current wall, moving it forward and replacing it with a foldable screen/wall - £12,500
Repaint the nave, freshening up the look and preserving the plaster - £12,000
Phase two estimated total: £27,000
Install a glass screen separating the nave from the chancel, allowing multiple groups to use the building while preserving a chapel space, allowing the spaces to be heated more efficiently - estimate £25-30 000
Repair and address the structural integrity of the tower - expected to cost around £20,000
Phase three estimated: £47,500
Total at this stage: £110,000
Some work needs to be done as soon as possible, certainly within the next 12 months, with the later phases to be approached over the next three to five years.
We have been the parish church here for over 175 years, marking with due reverence and joy births and baptisms, marriages and festivals, deaths and funerals of all who have asked.
On average we baptise well over 50 folk a year, each baptism can have congregations in the 200s, and funerals can have over 300. The toilet facilities cannot cope with these numbers, nor is our sound system able to make our services as inclusive as we would like.
We love knowing that so many feel a connection to our building as ‘their church’ despite not attending regularly, however we need help and financial assistance to ensure that we are able to support people as well as they deserve. The people of Sunderland are too often ignored or sidelined, but we have a proud history of mining, glass making and ship-building. Our estates and streets are full of families who have lived here for generations, looking out for each other, raising bairns, finding work and losing work. The people here are full of potential - we want them to know that they are loved and precious.
We want their parish church to demonstrate that they are worth investing in. All the work planned we believe will benefit our local community, the people of Southwick, and the surrounding estates.
A Winter Warmer regular refers to the meal as his favourite night of every week, ‘cos it’s the only time people talk to him, really talk’. He feels visible and valued with a better sense of well-being. One of the single mums we work with, who has come to faith and become a volunteer too, says that she thinks she has ‘learnt more from coming to church than I ever did at school’. Seeing folk grow in faith, skills and confidence is at the heart of what we are trying to do here.
The Parish of North Wearside has recently been awarded some funding towards growing our church, but this money is to be invested in people, rather than buildings or places. We will be employing folk to help us grow our vision of being a place of empowerment and learning, adding to the team roles that focus on youth and families, community listening, relationship building and coordination.
We hope to be able to employ local people in these positions over time.
We also want to invest in our building. While people are crucial, the buildings hold the heart of many here and we want to honour that, to show that this church is their church, that we are here for them as a place of care and nurture.
We want people to be able to invest in us, both in money and time, their hopes and their dreams and let us gather together to grow with them. We intend to apply for external funding from grant making bodies but we also want to run crowdfunding strands and grassroots fundraising campaigns so all can be involved. We want to be an integral part and focal point for the community for another 175 years:, YOU can help us to achieve this.
Every bit of support, small or large, local or national, will count and will be gratefully received.
Please consider donating.
You are welcome to contact us for more information and even a virtual tour! Our architect is busy working on the designs right now so as soon as we have some drawings of the planned work, we'll share them too.
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