The past few months have been a frustrating time for the Trust, as our search for a builder to renovate the Stars at 68-70 Church Street continues. We hope to have received at least two quotes by the end of August but are unlikely to see work commence before the end of the year.
The main purpose of the Trust is to provide affordable accommodation to local people in housing need. That is the primary reason why we bought the building, which had been standing empty in the heart of our town for six years. Upon completion, we will be able to provide a single-bed flat on the ground floor, with a spacious two-bed apartment above, and reopen a door on the street that has been blocked for many years.
This is, by far, the biggest project that the Trust has undertaken. While we wait for the work to start, the fundraising efforts continue. The total cost of the scheme will exceed £250,000. With £39,478 already raised from local charitable trusts and businesses, as well as individual donors, we hope to raise £60,000 from these sources.
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Other funding applications continue to be made, and the Ecology Building Society stands by to help, with its offer of a £100,000 mortgage.
Part of the plans for the shopfront include restoring it to how it looked before the 1980s, with a recessed doorway and the addition of a couple of reclaimed Victorian cast iron columns, brought from a salvage yard near Hereford. The joinery work is being carried out by local craftsman Anthony Jones, from Shropshire Hardwoods.
In another positive development- after months of waiting, an electricity meter was installed in the shop area at the end of July, and the next step is for local electrician Gavin Cooke to wire up a temporary supply. This will ensure we have the power on ready for the builders, and enable us to host more events in the Community Space, such as the Michaelmas Fair on the 17th of September (see below).
Although the renovation work hasn’t begun yet, various organisations have already used the building, including;
Shropshire Fire and Rescue
Mr. T’s Pies
Bishop’s Castle Street Fair
Yet more organisations are also queuing up to help us breathe new life into the Stars:
Bishops Castle Befriending Circle
The Michaelmas Fair
Shropshire Youth Support Trust
The Social Prescribing Team
Bishop’s Castle Michaelmas Fair will be going ahead on September 17th 2022, after a two year break, in what will be its 25th year. The Michaelmas Fair is a fabulous one day street fair, traditionally held at the end of harvest, involving entertainment, music and street traders alongside processions of vintage cars and steam engines.
The Fair’s organisers say:
‘The Fair draws people in from all over the region and relies upon the whole Bishop’s Castle community to make it a success. The Community Space at the Stars stands in a central position in the town and is an ideal spot from which to run our Fair this year. At the heart of the community, we will be taking advantage of the Stars location to advertise the Fair in the few weeks running up to the event.
On the day, Stars will be the focal point for Fair HQ and the Information hub. This year we are also planning to utilise the great space behind the building to situate a food court, enabling us to keep all the food vendors together and create an intimate area for visitors to eat and relax. We hope that this can be expanded in future years, to further involve the Stars community space as it develops. We see Stars as having a pivotal role in bringing the community together’ .
The Trust had a stall at the Bishops Castle Celebration Day on Saturday the 30th of July, when people were invited to write on post-it notes what they would like to see the Community Space used for. Their suggestions included;
Workshops on how to save energy
A safe place to meet
Citizens Advice sessions
Ping pong and a pool table
Afternoon tea café
Advice & guidance for young entrepreneurs.
Each and every of these ideas will be discussed with the staff at Enterprise House to help ensure there is no duplication, or competition, with them. Despite all the set-backs and delays, board members of the Trust are determined to see this exciting project through, to get the two affordable flats for local people let, and the Community Space open for business.
Contact Information For more information about the project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org Or phone/text him on 07497 142 485.