An opening celebration has been held to mark the completion of a new Sparkbrook Church which replaces one seriously damaged in a Birmingham tornado in 2005.
Bishop Andrew Watson, Bishop of Aston, attended the event marking the completion of work on the church developed by local LIFTCo Birmingham and Solihull LIFT (BaS LIFT) and their private development partner Prime.
The original Christ Church in Sparkbrook, consecrated in 1867, was badly damaged by a 130 mph tornado which ripped through parts of Birmingham eight years ago. The church had to be demolished, but has now been replaced by a new two storey facility which incorporates a church hall, cafe; and rooms for general community use along with landscaped car parking.
The opening event was also attended by architects One Creative Environments Ltd, the Stourbridge-based Western Region of Mansell and consultants Mott MacDonald, along with the priest in charge of Sparkbrook Christ Church, the Revd Canon Steve Simcox and Curate Rev. Richard Sudworth.
Revd Canon Steve Simcox explained: “We are overjoyed with the new building and we were glad to be able to celebrate its opening. Together the developers, designers and contractors have understood the vision that we had for a new church in Sparkbrook and have translated this into building design. And thanks to everyone’s hard work, the area has a new church, cafe and facilities which can now serve the local and wider community.”
Pierre Du Toit, Associate Architect, One Creative Environments Ltd explained: “Sparkbrook Church offers a refreshing approach to traditional church design. Driven by the vision of the Reverend and his congregation we have created a building that is designed with community outreach in mind, with a flexible layout that enables the church to tailor the space and accommodate different uses.”
As well as the new church, the £7.3 million project included a three-storey community and health centre which provides accommodation for GP, community, dental and physiotherapy services, which was completed earlier last year. The centre also includes a library, a Birmingham City Council Customer Service Centre, community centre facilities, six start-up offices and landscaped public areas.
Ann Pursey, Chief Executive of BaS LIFT explained: “Sparkbrook’s Community Hub comprises a landmark health and council building – the first of its kind in the city – and the new Christ Church – which has now officially opened. Together they are the result of a collaborative vision between the NHS, Birmingham City Council, the Diocese of Birmingham and BaS LIFT to regenerate community facilities and services for the whole community and we are proud to be a part of the project team that has rejuvenated such an important site at
the heart of Sparkbrook.”
Mansell’s director of operations, Stuart Rogers, said: “Mansell is delighted to have had the opportunity to work with the various partners involved in this project and to deliver the Diocese of Birmingham’s vision for Sparkbrook’s new Christ Church facility. We recognise the importance of developments like these to the communities they serve and we are proud to play a key role in providing them.”