Today’s public meeting…and what to do now

Thank you to everyone who came along to Chadkirk Chapel today and made their voice heard.
Thank you to all those who signed the petition.
Thank you to those who stood up for the future of Chadkirk Chapel. Some folk literally, stood up – there was standing room only as today’s meeting got underway. More than 145 within the building, others at the doorway, listening.

The Chair of the Friends of Chadkirk welcomed everyone and started the meeting by providing an update. He had written to decision makers and raised questions about the future of Chadkirk Chapel. Given the proposals, what information could they provide about the future plans and possibilities? To kick off he went through the questions with any answers he’d been given, as well as outlining the questions where answers and clarifications are still pending. We await with interest the answers to these questions*…

Much seems uncertain.

And while much seems uncertain, what we can be sure of is that Chadkirk Chapel has a special place in the hearts of people far and wide. Many individuals talked of what it meant to them. People described the value of all the amenities and opportunities. Observing the real transformation that has taken place over the years from 1995, when renovation and other projects were initiated, has been a source of immense pleasure and satisfaction. The restoration of the Chapel, the Walled Garden, the programme of steady improvements in the range of Chapel’s art and craft work, investment by the Friends of Chadkirk, including in the sound system and facilities for presentations. There is much here to celebrate.

Nevertheless, we have also seen the way that austerity measures introduced since 2008 mean that there are funding issues. In that context, the consultation includes a statement that the Museums Service seeks to save
£40 000 each year (starting in 2020) by no longer including Chadkirk Chapel in their budget or their responsibilities. Who then has the resources to plug the gap? Or to do a better job with different resources?

It is clear that people want to see Chadkirk and it’s unique Chapel play a greater (and not a lesser) part in the lives of the community. It’s listed status alone almost demands that enough resources are found.**

There are ways to influence decision makers. Here’s a few :

There is the on-line consultation currently underway. (paper copies of the document are available at Chadkirk Chapel) You can make a submission either on-line or in writing. You have until 18th November to make your submission.

There is a petition in Chadkirk Chapel. You can sign this petition. Over 300 people have already signed. In addition there’s an on-line petition.

Raise the issue with local councillors and request consideration at meeting of Werneth Area Committee.

Contact decision makers via consultation@stockport.gov.uk

Funding the future

One participant spoke of her disappointment when she learned that her daughter’s wedding had been held in Chadkirk Chapel, and yet not a penny of fee paid had come to the Friends of Chadkirk or to Chadkirk directly. How much pleasure would it have given to know that the wedding was taking place at Chadkirk and that they were contributing to the support of a treasured part of the local landscape and community and the continued nurturing of this historic site. It seems like an opportunity missed.

So here’s a thought:
What if a % of the wedding fees paid were in future dedicated to go directly and explicitly to the Friends of Chadkirk/Chadkirk Chapel. After all, without the work they do, the money they raise, the garden they maintain, the beautiful west window they commissioned , would people chose to have a wedding at Chadkirk?

Maybe with 1% of the fees they would be able to set up the service, so that the kiosk continues to open at weekends? Perhaps this money could help fund our on-going programme of improvements?
Just a thought…

There’ll be better ideas, other thoughts and possibilities, alternatives that enable thriving rather than shrinkage. What are yours?

There were many people with many ideas about ways forward. Thank you for your ideas. Now let’s take what steps we can to make sure that our voice is heard. Through the democratic process and the engagement of the community there are ways that we can achieve a better outcome. Stronger Together.

** Cambridge Museum Service – person at the meeting who stepped forward and offered support. Please get in touch.

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