As we approach the end of 2018 it might be useful to reflect on what we have achieved and what is left to do.

Having decided to embark on an ambitious project to repurpose our Grade II* listed Georgian church as a community hub, we have been working with PPIY of York – noted conservation architects – to developed an imaginative scheme. The scheme has now been approved by the Methodist Church’s conservation process, Historic England, the Georgian Group, the Victorian Society and Ryedale District Council’s local planning and conservation section. No mean feat. It has been a lengthy and iterative process.

We now have all the permissions in place, which means we can now apply to for the necessary major grants to fund the project. We need to have secured about 80% of the funding in order to be granted our District’s approval to proceed. We have made a decision to proceed with reordering No. 12 as a separate phase by changing the upper two floors from residential to office and meeting room space, separating the current barber’s shop and providing access with a staircase behind the door which was originally an access to a passage to the maisonette and the rear room of the shop. However, you will have noticed that a new planning application has been made to provide that access from the landing on the staircase to the gallery. Thus integrating more fully the meeting rooms with the main building and forming the north wing of the Wesley Centre.

The contract for this work has been let and the work is planned to start on 7 January. What remains to be done is to secure the grants and continue local fundraising to allow us to start the main project. We hope to be able to report significant progress later in the New Year.

A good news story and an indication of the benefit of developing the church both as a place of worship and use by and for the community is the recent establishment of the Ryedale Free Fridge at the Wesley Centre. This appear to be running successfully and has received a lot of good publicity.