The Cathedral is more than 100 years old and in 2010 the original hall underwent a significant refurbishment to create a new community hub.
The Narthex is a large and flexible community space which includes a community cafe, a large function room and smaller rooms available for community activities. Outside there are community gardens accessible to the public seven days a week.
Unfortunately, the toilet facilities are in desperate need of renovation. Low water pressure, a lack of ventilation, damage and the age of the toilets all contribute to the fact that many visitors avoid using them.
The work was expected to have been completed by 2020, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and closure of the building, 90 per cent of income was lost and the Cathedral was no longer able to fund the work itself.
After making an application to Biffa Award, part of the Landfill Communities Fund, a £40,660 grant was awarded, and the toilets can now be refurbished to modern standards
Various community groups are based at the Narthex, including a dementia cafe, parent and toddler group, networking sessions, Zumba and dance classes as well as the building being used for community events and private functions.
Suzi Pendlebury, Project Architect, said: “Since the end of the COVID-19 lockdown, the Narthex has been inundated with the needs of the community as we come back together. Finally repairing and upgrading the toilets will make such a difference – we are so grateful to Biffa Award.”
Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager, added: “At Biffa Award we are proud to support projects like this one at the Narthex Centre which are so integral to the life of their community, bringing people together and giving them the opportunity to share experiences. Projects like this provide the means for a community to thrive.”
To apply for Biffa Award funding visit www.biffa-award.org
Pictured above is the Narthex at St John’s Cathedral.