March 20th until further notice…

Friends of Chadkirk events planned are suspended.
Normal activities will resume when normal activities resume.

Until then? Cherish each moment. Sing , hum, laugh. Dance alone or together. Walk in open spaces. Notice. Moments of joy.

The month of March : what’s going on at Chadkirk

Our next event is the celebration of St Chad’s Day.
This will take place on Sunday 1st March.

In the Chadkirk Garden:
Our team of volunteers enjoy some fresh air, occasional rays of sunshine, movement and the delights of earth and tending the garden. Often too, cuppa and a chat, many times accompanied by cake.
You are very welcome to join us.
We meet by Chadkirk Chapel.
Every little helps. Maybe join us for minutes and moments or a longer spell.

March gardening days: Saturday 7th and Thursday 19th

Meetings of Friends of Chadkirk
Meetings take place on the second Thursday of every other month.
Time:10-00 hrs
Place: Chadkirk Chapel

March Meeting (AGM) Thursday March 12th 2020 at 10-00 am

Tai Chi
Tai Chi is held at the Chapel on Mondays (except Bank Holidays and August) 10am to 11am. Cost £3.50p per session. Tea/coffee after session.

Sunday 1st March Celebrate St Chad’s Day at Chadkirk

Looking to get out and about now that spring is officially just around the corner?

A stroll around Chadkirk and a visit to the Chapel might be just the thing. Perhaps a short walk, followed by a hot drink and a slice of cake in the shelter of Chadkirk Chapel? Just the right balance of fresh air and convivial comforts.

We are hosting our annual St Chad’s Day event on Sunday 1st March 2020.

There’s a presentation DVD on the life of St Chad.

The presentation starts at 2pm. Tray bakes for sale. Drinks from the kiosk.

From the car park, it’s a short walk to the Walled Garden and Chadkirk Chapel. All welcome. Join us for a visit. Chadkirk and St Chad. It’s all part of what makes this a special place to treasure.

A question answered…

Will there be anything happening at Chadkirk on St Chad’s Day, Monday 2 March? I am planning a walk for my Monday walking group past Chadkirk on that day. I remember that in 2015, the previous time St Chad’s Day fell on a Monday, we happened to walk past Chadkirk and were delighted to find coffee and cakes being served.

Good to hear from you Leslie.Thanks for your question.
We celebrate St Chad’s Day on the nearest Sunday to St Chad’s official day. So this year we will be in Chadkirk Chapel on Sunday March 1st 2020.

If your group are walking on Sunday 1st some of our Friends will be delighted to meet you and offer you a warm welcome and refreshments.

There’s plenty of short circuits around Chadkirk, so it’s also pleasant to just have a little wander towards Chadkirk Chapel and step inside for a cuppa, a cake and a chat. There’s plenty of interest in the history and art works too. And things are starting to wake up in the Walled Garden too. Join us when you can.

2020 Diary Dates

Our next event is the celebration of St Chad’s Day.
This will take place on Sunday 1st March.

Tai Chi is held at the Chapel on Mondays (except Bank Holidays and August) 10am to 11am. Cost £3.50p per session. Tea/coffee after session.

In the Chadkirk Garden:

Our team of volunteers enjoy some fresh air, occasional rays of sunshine, movement and the delights of earth and tending the garden. Often too, cuppa and a chat, many times accompanied by cake.

You are very welcome to join us.
We meet by Chadkirk Chapel.
Every little helps so join us for minutes and moments or a longer spell.

Gardening Team Days are on two days each month.
On the first Saturday in the afternoon between 2.00pm – 4.00pm

and each third Thursday of a month in the morning 10.00 am – 12.00pm

January gardening days: Saturday 4th and Thursday 16th

February gardening days: Saturday 1st and Thursday 20th

March gardening days: Saturday 7th and Thursday 19th

April gardening days: Saturday 7th and Thursday 16th

May gardening days: Saturday 2 and Thursday 21th

June gardening days: Saturday 6 th and Thursday 18th

July gardening days: Saturday 4th and Thursday 16th

August gardening days: Saturday 1st and Thursday 20th

September gardening days: Saturday 5th and Thursday 17th

October gardening days: Saturday 3 and Thursday 15th

November gardening days: Saturday 7th and Thursday 19th

December gardening days: Saturday 5th and Thursday 17th

Meetings of Friends of Chadkirk

Meetings take place on the second Thursday of every other month.

Time:10-00 hrs
Place: Chadkirk Chapel

First meeting of 2020 : 9th January 2020

March Meeting (AGM) Thursday March 12th 2020 at 10-00 am

May Meeting Thursday 14th May 2020 at 10-00am

July Meeting Thursday 9th July at 10-00am

September Meeting Thursday 10th September at 10-00am

November Meeting Thursday 12th November at 10-00am

Events at Chadkirk

MARCH

ST. CHAD’S DAY CELEBRATION 2pm 1st

APRIL

EASTER SUNDAY SERVICE 3pm 12th

EASTER MONDAY CHILDREN’S EASTER TRAIL 2 -4pm 13th
(Open to children under 10 yrs – charge: 50p)

JUNE

PLANT SALE on lawn 2.30pm – 4pm 13th

JULY

WELL DRESSING in the making 21st – 24th
11am – 3pm refreshments available

BLESSING OF WELL 1pm 25th
& then into the gardens until 4pm for Stockport
Silver Band, stalls & refreshments.

SEPTEMBER

BIRD & BAT BOX MAKING 2pm – 4pm 5th
£6 per box, please bring a hammer if
possible.

OCTOBER

HARVEST SUPPER & QUIZ 9th
7.30pm – 10 pm (approx.)
£6.50p per person – BOOKING ESSENTIAL
To obtain tickets contact Stockport Tourist Information
Office at Staircase House, Tel: 0161 474 4444.
Please check times of opening at Staircase House

HARVEST FESTIVAL SERVICE 3pm 11th

DECEMBER

CAROL SERVICES 2.30pm and 4pm 6th
(BOOKING ESSENTIAL)
Information on how to book tickets will be advertised at the Chapel later in the year.

——————————————————————————————————

Tai Chi is held at the Chapel on Mondays (except Bank Holidays and August) 10am to 11am. Cost £3.50p per session. Tea/coffee after session.

St Chad’s Day Celebration on 1st March 2020

Diary dates for 2020

FRIENDS OF CHADKIRK CHAPEL & COUNTRY ESTATE
CALENDAR OF EVENTS 2020

Task Days Monthly – 1st Saturday 2.00pm – 4.00pm
3rd Thursday 10.00 am – 12.00pm

Meetings 2nd Thursday of every other month starting 9th January 2020, 10am in Chapel.
_______________________________________________________________
JANUARY
Task Days 4thth & 16th
FEBRUARY
Task Days 1st & 20th
_______________________________________________________________
MARCH
Meeting (AGM) 12th

ST. CHAD’S DAY CELEBRATION 2pm 1st

Task Days 7th & 19th
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
APRIL

EASTER SUNDAY SERVICE 3pm 12th

EASTER MONDAY CHILDREN’S EASTER TRAIL 2 -4pm 13th
(Open to children under 10 yrs – charge: 50p)

Task Days 4th & 16th
—————————————————————————————————————————————————

MAY

Task Days 2nd & 21st

Meeting 14th
JUNE

Task Days 6th & 18th

PLANT SALE on lawn 2.30pm – 4pm 13th
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

JULY

Task Days 4th & 16th

Meeting 9th

WELL DRESSING in the making 21st – 24th
11am – 3pm refreshments available

BLESSING OF WELL 1pm 25th
& then into the gardens until 4pm for Stockport
Silver Band, stalls & refreshments.

AUGUST
Task Days 1st & 20th

SEPTEMBER
Task Days 5th & 17th

BIRD & BAT BOX MAKING 2pm – 4pm 5th
£6 per box, please bring a hammer if
possible.

Meeting 10th

OCTOBER

Task Days 3rd & 15th

HARVEST SUPPER & QUIZ 9th
7.30pm – 10 pm (approx.)
£6.50p per person – BOOKING ESSENTIAL
To obtain tickets contact Stockport Tourist Information
Office at Staircase House, Tel: 0161 474 4444.
Please check times of opening at Staircase House

HARVEST FESTIVAL SERVICE 3pm 11th

NOVEMBER

Task Days 7th & 19th

Meeting 12th

DECEMBER

Task Days 5th & 17th

CAROL SERVICES 2.30pm and 4pm 6th
(BOOKING ESSENTIAL)
Information on how to book tickets will be advertised at the Chapel later in the year.
——————————————————————————————————
Tai Chi is held at the Chapel on Mondays (except Bank Holidays and August) 10am to 11am. Cost £3.50p per session. Tea/coffee after session.

Tai Chi is held at the Chapel on Mondays (except Bank Holidays and August) 10am to 11am. Cost £3.50p per session. Tea/coffee after session.

Tai Chi is held at the Chapel on Mondays (except Bank Holidays and August) 10am to 11am. Cost £3.50p per session. Tea/coffee after session.

St Chad’s Day Celebration on 1st March 2020

Listen in…

…to BBC Radio Manchester on Saturday morning.

Today (Friday 22 Nov) our Chair, John, will be talking about Chadkirk Chapel with someone from the BBC. They plan to run the interview on Saturday morning. That’s Saturday 23rd November Chadkirk on BBC Radio Manchester.

Stockport Museums consultation – formal response from the Friends of Chadkirk

The Friends of Chadkirk
John Pengelly – Chair
Mr P Ashworth
Head of Culture and Leisure
Stockport MBC
Fred Perry House
Edward St, Stockport SK1 3UR

c.c. (by email) to:
1. consultation@stockport.gov.uk
2. Cllr. K Butler, Ctee. chair

17th Nov 2019

Dear Mr Ashworth,

Stockport Museums consultation – formal response from the Friends of Chadkirk

As promised, this letter forms the formal response of the Friends, but should also be read alongside the email exchanges which have taken place with you and other council officers, and also our minuted meeting on 31st October. Our comments are directed solely at the proposal to close Chadkirk Chapel as a museum facility.

For the avoidance of any doubt, the Friends are wholly opposed to the current proposals, which seek to withdraw the already limited weekend opening, and to remove museum status for the building. We see this withdrawal of core council support as a significant retrograde step, after many years of reducing assistance. It potentially jeopardises the long established partnership we have developed over 40+ years. We can also confirm that we have no intention (or resource) to open the chapel as per the current hours on a voluntary basis should the facility close. Our resources are just capable of continuing the current voluntary commitments of organising a programmed calendar of community events, and maintaining the formal gardens. This is of course subject to the continuing availability of some funding or support, of which there is no certainty. We are in no position to take on additional responsibilities here; the need to seek additional funds will itself place a strain on our volunteer activity.

1. The consultation process
We are of the view that this is flawed on the following grounds:
a) The consultation relies heavily on electronic means of consideration and response, which is prejudicial to those users of the facility who are either not proficient with electronic communication, or are not on prescribed circulation lists. Until the Friends took it on themselves to publicise the proposal, which was some time into the specified consultation period, there were no public notices at the site and public knowledge of the council’s intentions was negligible. There has been no attempt by the council to engage meaningfully with the general public users of the site.
b) In the consultation document sent to councillors “Getting More out of our Spending” (sic) it clearly states that the consultation would be sent to schools. As a governor of the nearest primary school to Chadkirk, I have been advised that no consultation has been received by any of the local schools. At a time when OFSTED are looking to examine in
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more detail the wider school curriculum, to propose closure of a facility of this nature is short sighted in the extreme. Chadkirk performs a valuable function in educating and informing children of their local heritage and history, and is much visited by parents with
young children when open. To close it without considering this impact is unacceptable, and undermines the purpose of genuine consultation.

2. The proposal
a) The document has been written in a deliberately pejorative manner to advance the case for closure of Chadkirk. The sites proposed for retention are justified as “unique to Stockport”, “defining the identity of the town” and “most important buildings in their own right”. Chadkirk is dismissed as a “popular refreshment facility” and its offer is” limited”. This is nothing more than crude propaganda, and has no place in a document of this type.
We would remind you that Chadkirk Chapel is a Grade 2* listed building, which ranks it alongside the Town Hall in terms of its perceived historical and architectural significance. Only 5% of listed buildings nationally fall in to this category. It is possibly the oldest religious site in Stockport Borough. It was the earliest practising chapel for non-conformist religion in the area. To dismiss its importance in the manner that this document does is risible.
That its offer is “limited” is solely at the behest of the council, who for many years have done nothing to enhance its status, or look to build its collection. The audio visual display explaining its history has been broken for at least 10 years. This sums up the council’s deliberate neglect of this museum. In the meanwhile, other museums (Bramhall, Hatworks) have been, or are being, lavished with cash to preserve and enhance their offer. The decision to commit to the enhancement of Hatworks knowing that this consultation would be taking place appears to be a deliberate ploy to constrain the consideration of alternative cost saving options.

b) Chadkirk Museum is part of the Chadkirk Estate, which has grown in importance as a recreational and environmental resource over the past 20 years. There is no recognition here of that symbiotic relationship, nor any thought as to how the museum and estate could be managed together to reduce council cost and exploit potential. Each council department is working in an isolated bubble, as manifested by the current document.

c) It is normal for a consultation document to set out alternative options which have been considered, and to set out in a justified argument why the preferred option has been chosen. There is none of that here. The claimed savings of £40k pa are shared with the main Stockport Museum, but there is no breakdown of the cost which Chadkirk embodies. Given that the chapel is only open for less than 500 hours per year, we estimate staff costs at less than £5000 per annum. There will be income from refreshment sales, say £1000 over the year. There is no consideration of the potential impact on the Events income (which we understand to be growing) of the proposed closure. Without the ability to informally view the chapel when it is open, the likelihood of choosing it as an event venue decreases. Every event lost is a foregone income of £600 – £800. Additionally, there will be more calls on the events staff time to visit the site to enable potentially non-productive viewings. The museum “saving” (small as it is) will be outweighed by the increased staffing requirements and income loss elsewhere in the council. And that also assumes that the wedding event usage can continue, which is discussed later.

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d) There is an implicit assumption that volunteer activity might increase here, albeit no mention of the many museum supported activities that take place here at the Friends’ instigation currently – another way in which the document downplays Chadkirk’s uniqueness. (Where else in the borough does a well dressing of this type take place each year? That truly is “unique” – and yes, there are other museums with hat collections, albeit they are displayed in the context of the town museum where they are sited). In ignoring the volunteer activities, the document also ignores the potential implications for such
community events following the withdrawal of museums funding. Should the Friends withdraw from such events due to lack of funding, a potential casualty would be maintenance of the formal gardens which feature so prominently in the Events team promotional literature. Again, the potential negative implications for broader council considerations are lacking.
This is a one-dimensional, museum driven document, with no thought given to wider cost/benefit aspects.

e) The public document states that the proposed closure date for the chapel is 29th December 2019, but the “Getting More out of our Spending” (sic) document indicates that the implementation of changes would be phased take place up to April 2020 following a cabinet decision being made in December. The general election “purdah” will impact on the decision timeline. The “consultation” process does not conform to the stated parameters, and arguably should be extended until the parameters are met. We have sought to establish what the future arrangements for use of the chapel will be (should it close) without success. The questions referred to you after our meeting with you and other council officers on 31st October remain unanswered. To close the chapel on the 29th December in the absence of any clear guidance as to its future use and management is in our view ill-conceived, and we would ask that the timescales for any change are extended to enable suitable arrangements to be discussed and put in place.

3) Future usage

a) The document sets out no vision or recommendation for what happens to Chadkirk should the museum close, other than a vague resolution to contact volunteer groups to “see if they are interested”. We have sought, but not obtained, written assurance as to the future functioning of the Friends group in areas such as use of the chapel for our events; where costs will fall; where responsibility for management of the building will sit; and how the site will be publicised if it leaves the museum grouping. These all appear to be “work in progress”. It does make it more difficult to be “interested” if there is no formal framework or commitment to how future volunteer activity will be supported. The borough is already littered with underutilised buildings where council services have been withdrawn; the setting of Chadkirk Chapel is itself already diminished by the vacant and deteriorating farm buildings next door (abandoned and unused since school visits ceased many years ago). Woodbank and Vernon Parks also bear testament to this lack of joined up thought. We do not want another casualty here.

b) The Chapel was acquired from the church in 1971 with a covenant that it should be used for community use. The planning consent for the current use derives from the refurbishment in 1995, which refers to the building as being used as an “interpretation centre”. Withdrawal of the museum status will breach both of these requirements should the primary use change to that of a council “events venue” as appears to be the
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proposition. Planning consent for such a use would raise conflicts with many Stockport planning policies and seems unlikely. Without it, the registrar approval which currently exists for the performing of civil wedding ceremonies here would fall. The council has a history of legal breach at Chadkirk due to lack of forethought (paths constructed without planning consent; new window installed without listed building consent; weddings performed with the public prohibited). There appears yet again to be no thought given to this aspect when these proposals were formulated. Cessation of the events income through loss of the registrar’s weddings approval would certainly nullify the purported savings.

c) Given the lack of proposals for the immediate term (i.e. beyond the closure of the museum), it is no surprise that any medium to long term vision is lacking. Whilst this
proposal may theoretically satisfy the need to reduce museums expenditure (and that, from previous analysis, is arguable), it does nothing to secure the longer term future of the site. The council’s policy seems to be resting on the Micawber principle that “something will turn up”. Experience indicates that the more likely outcome will be a further reduction in use; further cost-cutting pressures; and ultimately the complete closure of the building to public and community access.

4. Conclusion

The Friends of Chadkirk believe that the current proposals are flawed. They will not deliver overall savings to the council, and place in jeopardy the future of this building as a community venue.
We are more than willing to work with the council to produce a management arrangement that will address the currently perceived difficulties of public access and in the process address the cost pressures that the council is experiencing. However, for all the reasons listed in this letter, what is currently being proposed meets neither of these requirements and should therefore be rejected pending the formulation of a more robust and sustainable proposal.

Yours sincerely

John Pengelly
Chair, Friends of Chadkirk

Listen in…

…to BBC Radio Manchester on Saturday morning.

Today (Friday 22 Nov) our Chair, John, will be talking about Chadkirk Chapel with someone from the BBC. They plan to run the interview on Saturday morning. That’s Saturday 23rd November Chadkirk on BBC Radio Manchester.

Watch this…