The future of the Methodist Church

Methodist Church Update - Feb 2018

The newly formed Steering Group held their first, inaugural meeting on the 12th December 2017.

The meeting began with the appointment of Chairperson, Vice Chairpersons, Secretary and Treasurer.

In order to make the work of the Steering Group more effective a division into sub groups and leaders has been established to cover the main aspects of the preparatory work.

A further constructive meeting was held on 3rd January to follow up the various proposals and actions.

The following actions have been taken and drafting of key documents has been commenced by the work groups:-

·     Terms of Reference developed to set out the responsibilities and objectives of the 'Group to the point of handover of the facility.

·     Overall Strategic Plan - to provide a vision and direction to the project.

·     Outline Business Plan - to ascertain the viability of the project.

·     Project Plan - to provide a framework for the tasks involved and also to set out a stakeholder register and communication strategy.

·     Risk Register and Inter-dependencies Matrix.  

·     Planning application submitted to WODC for a change of use of the building to 'flexible use' to permit a café, shop and meeting place.

·     Bank account established.

·     Meeting arranged with the Plunkett Foundation Advisor, to be held in February.

·     Initial contact made with the Methodist Church representatives to indicate our interest in purchasing the building.

Further key arrangements / activities planned:

·     Submit an application to join the Plunkett Foundation.

·     Negotiate the acquisition of the Methodist Church, subject to survey, as our preferred choice or search for other options if the Church is not a viable proposition.

·     Set up an incorporated Community Benefit Society to own the building and run the Hub.

·     Raise the necessary funds from a community-share issue, grants and other sources.

·     Form a Management Committee to establish and operate the business.

In order to progress the project at this preliminary stage we need to collect a Fighting Fund to cover the cost of incorporation, structural survey, planning application, legal fees and other sundry costs.  A conservative estimate for this is between £2000 and £3000.  This is money that is mostly required immediately and is needed regardless of the outcome of any potential purchase.

The Plunkett Foundation provides guidelines, legal advice and assistance for community self-help projects and has appointed an Advisor to work with us. For further information about this organisation see

The Steering Group, on behalf of the village of Freeland, are committed to providing a Social Hub for the village in the Methodist Church - being the much preferred option. However we will seek an alternative site and review other options should we be unsuccessful in purchasing the Methodist Church.

Over the coming weeks please look out for a Social Media campaign, further posts on the Freeland Village Website and a new Facebook page.  We also plan to send a letter to each household in the Village as part of the fund-raising campaign asking for support to back this community effort. If you would like to contribute to the 'Fighting Fund' you will find donation boxes in The Yeoman and The Garden Centre. We will soon be able to receive online donations too, details of which will be available on, on Facebook (Freeland Village Hub) and in the letter to all households. Please note, if we are unsuccessful in our efforts and money remains within the account it will be donated to other worthwhile causes within the village.

The fourteen members of the Steering Group are working hard to support this venture with considerable time and effort so as to be in a position to negotiate with the Methodist Church when the building is placed on the market.  Please help them by giving as generously as you are able.  

Jane Duff, Communications Sub group leader / Andy Murray, Secretary and Joint Project Coordinator.

Background information

If the building were to be purchased by the community, the facilities would be run by a cooperative with membership open to all residents of the village on the purchase of a single share. Members would vote for a Managing Committee. We would expect the café and/or shop (the ‘Village Hub’) to employ one or more managers and be supported by volunteers. Further shares could be purchased as an investment in the enterprise.

The working group has been set up to investigate the feasibility of buying the building, and positive feedback was received at an open meeting in September (for further details, please see below). The work involved, however, in establishing such an enterprise would be considerable and would need the support of the majority of Freeland residents in order to succeed.


If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch:

♣     by email:

♣     by phone: Alaa Al-Yousuf (880689) or Colin Smith (881704).

Further Information

The following provide useful further information or resources:

Plunkett Foundation ( – which supports people, predominantly in rural areas, to set up and run community co-operatives, enterprises that are owned and run democratically by large numbers of people in their community.

A good example of what can be achieved:

Information on investing in community enterprises: