A massive thank you to those who were able to join us for our Launch Night back in November. At this event we shared the vision and building plans for the coffee shop on Chesterfield Road. The support for this was overwhelming – over £10k was raised to help the building project. Thank you so much for your generosity!
As promised, for those who were unable to join us, here is a condensed version of the information shared.
The vacant building on Chesterfield Road is the setting for the next chapter of Open House. We believe that the need is there and the time is right to redevelop the building around the charitable aims of Open House Trust and the model of a community focused coffee shop, which supports a growing ecosystem of services, friendships, projects and groups: an Open House.
We would love to see Open House bringing good coffee, good company, and Church into the centre of our community. We imagine a shared place for local people and local churches to listen, serve, explore and love together. We believe in the value of stable places; of shared endeavour; where names are known and a special effort is made to accommodate those who might otherwise be excluded. We are absolutely sure there are many ways such a place could bring God’s love to the High Street that we haven’t even thought of yet!
If this is going to happen, it must be a shared vision. It will not be possible for a small core team to deliver even the initial regeneration of the building; the project will only come alive with a community growing around it. We think that we have enough of a direction to begin, and some of the skills and enthusiasm needed to steer the project but we cannot possibly make this a reality without help. We are not simply asking for support, we are inviting people to come in; shape the future of this community; to give and receive; and make yourself at home.
The ground floor is a great space with large windows, a high ceiling and a frontage on the main road. It has a prominent main access onto Chesterfield Road in the heart of Woodseats as well as a side door onto Helmton Road. A small rear yard contains the shared rear access.
At present, the building has several structural problems including damp, deterioration of timber lintels, and large single-glazed windows. In addition to the necessary repairs, alterations to the internal arrangement of the building to make it suitable for future use will be necessary. Toilet facilities are needed on the ground floor as well as a new serving area. The existing cellar head will be removed to increase usable space and a change in the internal floor level will allow disabled access throughout.
The ground floor will be the main serving and welcome area. It will be familiar, accessible and relaxed. There will be minimal separation between the server and the served with space for conversation and relationship to develop. Open House will have the appearance and standards of a small independent commercial coffee shop. However our business model, staff, and the pace of daily trade will prioritise people, not profit.
To get the project underway, the first requirement is the main structural repairs and alterations: windows, doors, floors and weatherproofing. We have issued tender documents to contractors and are in the early stages of identifying delivery partners for the structural works.
The first floor is a large additional space that has exciting potential to increase seating capacity as well as providing meeting rooms, cosy corners and a place for events. In the rear of the building, there is a space for a food preparation and kitchen area as well as additional toilets. The unusual shape of the building presents an opportunity to open up the main room around a focal point for presentations, live music or talks whilst retaining a sliding partition for use when needed.
At present, the first floor brickwork is in need of repair due to failing lintels. The space is separated into small rooms and corridors, and windows need to be replaced. The existing staircase is narrow and enclosed and the ground floor and first floor do not feel like parts of the same connected building. There is also an attic that would be suitable for storage, office facilities and meetings but access is steep and it cannot be secured.
The first floor will be an unhurried space to rest, reflect, talk and take time. By opening up more of the building we will reduce pressure on the ground floor and provide a space further from higher footfall areas for more intimate conversation or larger groups. A multi-purpose layout and dedicated facilities will mean that the first floor can also be used for meetings while the main coffee shop is busy below.