We've got big dreams to refurbish our city centre church building, enabling it to become a 'home for the city'.
Built in 1869 and serving the community since then for over 150 years, Hay Hill Baptist Church is a beautiful and unique grade two listed building. Since joining Oasis in 2018 and becoming Oasis Church Bath, a dream was born to realise the building’s full potential, modernising and refurbishing all three floors inside to create a thriving and fully functional community hub.
In 2020, through a generous grant from the St John’s Foundation, we commissioned local architects and conversation specialists Connolly Wellingham to conduct a feasibility study of the building. The study took place throughout 2020 with the support of a Building Task Group from the church, surveying the existing building fabric and consulting current users of all spaces. The results of the study helped us to both understand the building’s status and limitations, as well as the many possibilities for its future.
One of the biggest issues identified by current building users, was accessibility. Located on a high pavement and spread across three floors, we urgently need to install a lift, and ramp access at the main entrance of the property. Our architects have found a way to install a lift that serves all three floors, as well as creating a practical and welcoming entrance reception, which is still in keeping with the building’s heritage and location in the city. To truly fulfil our vision of being a community where everyone is included, we must make our building accessible for all.
As a city in a climate emergency, we know we need to take radical action to modernise our building services, including heating, lighting and waste disposal. Our refurbishment plans include a complete overhaul of these systems, including the installation of solar panels and heat pumps as well as moving from gas to electric power. Repairs to the existing roof and glazing will also improve our insulation, and reduce energy loss and inefficiency. Reducing our carbon footprint is a necessity, but also will reduce our outgoings and make us more sustainable as an organisation.
The building hasn’t seen a major refurbishment since the 1980’s, and there are many things that can be done to dramatically improve its usability. Our plans include a permanent space for our vital food pantry, a complete reshaping of our ground floor community hall to provide offices, toilets and a new reception desk. We also hope to build a new floor, extending from the balcony on the church level and creating a ‘crows nest’ meeting space, bookable by anyone who uses our building. In addition to the reordering of our spaces, systems improvement would mean accessible toilets on every level and a completely electronic access control system.
A Home for the City
At its heart, our building project is about providing a home for the city, a place where everyone is welcome to come as they are, and where change and transformation can take place for body, mind and soul. Our vision cannot be realised alone, and that’s why partnership and collaboration are built into the foundations of our plans. If you’re interested in partnering with us, do get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.