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Continuing consultation

During Thursday’s meeting of the Friends of Chadkirk we continued to work to find a way forward. In this we were helped by the attendance at the meeting of a number of representatives from SMBC. Present at the meeting were four people from SMBC ( including two from Events, one from Museums and one from the Neighbourhood team).

At the meeting:

*the background and reasons for retaining council presence at Chadkirk were discussed.

*It was agreed that The Chair of the Friends of Chadkirk is to send a response on behalf of the group summarising the main concerns.

We thanked the 4 representatives for their input and attendance.
As a Friends group we appreciated the professionalism they showed in the way they approached the meeting.

Before our meeting a response from SMBC to “the questions” was received.
However it made clear that most of the questions raised could not be answered
until after all the consultation responses had been received and processed.
After that a view would be taken by decision makers at SMBC as to what the appropriate course of action might be.

It seems that due to the General Election “purdah” requirements, no decision from the consultation can be taken until after the 13th December.

Perhaps this means that we can continue to make our case until then?
Certainly those at recent meetings and members of Friends of Chadkirk will continue to do that. And perhaps you will too?

What’s happening now…

Thanks to everyone who has been involved this week. Many people have been taking steps to influence the future of Chadkirk and it’s unique Chapel.

Thanks to the many people who have been in touch with local councillors and decision makers. Lots of people have signed one of the petitions and responded to the proposals via the consultation process on-line. Some have sent emails direct to decision makers.

Early in the week, a member of our community filmed some of the activities at Chadkirk and has put together this video:

On Wednesday representatives from the Friends of Chadkirk met with our local MP at Chadkirk Chapel.

On Thursday there was a meeting of Friends in Chadkirk Chapel.

Thank you to everyone for their time, energy and enthusiasm.
Each step makes a difference. Thank you.

Thank you to everyone for their time, energy and enthusiasm.
Each step makes a difference. Thank you.

Funding the future…what if?

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?

Contact …going forward

We are looking at ways to improve the flow of information. Recent signings/new Friends will perhaps have ideas and resources which will lead to better.

In the meantime, apart from attending meetings,

you can find information out via the blog.

The easiest way to do this is to click Follow and then you will automatically receive each new post as an email.

There is also an opportunity to comment.

Comments come to me. They are not made public until I have read the comment.
I will usually respond to comments personally. If I can’t answer questions, I do my best to find someone who can. Obviously I am a volunteer. Please be gentle. I am doing what I can when I can.

In the future there might be a better system…this is what works for now.
Join us. Every little helps.

Going forward…

Yesterday’s meeting brought many people together. It was good to see so many folk care about the future of Chadkirk and, in particular, Chadkirk Chapel.

After the meeting it was only possible to talk briefly with some of the many and yet it was encouraging to connect with people who would like to do step up and get involved. It is clear that many of you have expertise that would extend the range of what our little Friends group have been able to do so far.

We meet as a Friends group in different guises for different activities. Sometimes that’s for events, sometimes for gardening, sometimes just for social activities. This week, on Thursday 14th November happens to be the third Thursday of the month, so we will be meeting in Chadkirk Chapel at 1pm. Obviously the future of Chadkirk Chapel will be on the agenda. And there’ll be an opportunity to develop and explore some of the idea that came out of the meeting.

Members new and old, ancient and modern are all invited.
You would be very welcome to join us there.

1pm Chadkirk Chapel
Thursday 14th November
Friends of Chadkirk Meeting

I’ve been ‘doing the blog’ since 2012. I set up a ‘free’ site. At the start there were no adverts. Now there are. So I believe it would be better to change what we do. Maybe stay with wordpress but pay their annual fee for a domain name, so the site is unsullied by ads.

Following on from the great ideas expressed and the enthusiasm shown, new members will be able to offer something that can mean that our future communications and social media connections change for the better.
Let’s find a way to get together.

Perhaps that’s another idea for Thursday’s meeting. Get the ball rolling?

A few questions to answer…

Questions raised include:

1. Do councillors agree that a proper consultation process has been followed by SMBC staff?
2. Does the General Election “purdah” impact on the consultation?
3. Who within SMBC will act as FoC’s contact, and who within the council will have “ownership” of the chapel if museums disengage?
4. Will SMBC continue to meet all operating costs of the building, and continue to allow its use by FoC for community events without charge?
5. Will SMBC support some other form of regular public opening of the chapel if it is no longer staffed as a museum?
6. How will SMBC advertise and publicise Chadkirk on it’s website if it is no longer seen as a museum? How will the public find out about the site and what’s on?
7. Why is past maintenance work incomplete, and what plans exist for future spending on Chadkirk buildings?
8. Please confirm the anticipated closure date, and council willingness to extend any implementation until the many issues regarding future use have been properly resolved and publically confirmed.
9. Agreement to enter in to “Memorandum of Understanding” which defines future roles and responsibilities between different council departments and FoC.

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.