Now we can all do our bit to RAISE MONEY FOR OUR NEW COMMUNITY CENTRE  St Mary's Building Fund - Dunstable is now LIVE on Easy Fundraising and you can start NOW to raise money for the New Community Centre. If you buy anything at all on line it goes through THE EASY FUNDRAISING SITE - it's dead easy!

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As you already know the situation around the Marian Hall is desperate. The present building appears to be beyond repair.

The Marian Hall is 'home' to most of the Parish Groups, particularly Groups that provide structure for the children and young families.

As a short-term solution

The management of the Social Centre have done their best to give a temporary home to as many of the Groups as possible. The Groups involved are extremely grateful for their support and help. However there are already many demands on the Social Centre and it cannot, with the very best of intentions, cope with needs of all the Groups who meet in the Marian Hall, even on a short term basis.

Please join in the prayer preparation for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Parish Family and that the meeting on the 7th May will be a constructive and honest meeting to give the best possible solution to the challenge facing us in the present economic climate



Central Beds Council has approved planning permission for a New Community Centre to replace the existing Marian Hall with a new brick clad building on the same location behind St Mary’s Church.


Already several groups and individuals have volunteered to organise events. If you have any gifts or talents or contacts please let the Task Force know as soon as possible.

 If you've recently been in the Marian Hall, regularly used by Beavers, Brownies, Guides and other parish groups, you'll know how desperately a replacement is needed. I'm really excited about this easyfundraising site  as it is an effortless way to fundraise at no cost at all to me or you!

Minutes of Parish Team meeting held on Tuesday 7th May 2013

Present: Richard Neal (Chair), Fr Kieran Magovern c.m. (Parish Priest), John Morrisey (Chair of Finance Committee)Barbara and David Cheshire, Carole Cull-Simmonds, Mary Heath, Lauret Keany, Margaret White, Raphael de Lusignan, Celine Palmer, Kathy Aitken, Mary Kelly, Hannah McElligott, Rose Knights, Kit Barden, Madeleine Billett, Bernard Barnett, Ray Chafer, Mary Colman, Mary Smith, Agnes and Andrew Milne, Allan MacDonald, Bridge Moore, Evelyn Dowdall, Ann Lewis-Drew, Frances Hopkinson, Tony Duke, Brenda and Nick da Costa, Helen and Andrew Wells, James Anderton, Vickie Gibbons, Bert Sackett, Jo Dellar, Alison Menzel, Mary Wood, Clive Wadia, John Foley, Pauline Cotton, Fr Harry Slowey c.m.

Apologies: Vince Cheshire, Rosemarie Duke, Lucy Mashigo Chigwende, Fr Jimmy Sheil c.m.

Purpose of meeting: to determine action to be taken regarding Marian Hall

• R Neal gave background introduction: Matter first discussed in Parish Council meeting as far back as 6 years ago. Many different schemes considered. Marian Task Force set up. Very many different organisations use the hall. RN handed over to J Morrisey (Chair of Finance)

• JM informed meeting about his involvement: 2 years ago asked to deal with Finance. Occupation - Quantity Surveyor. Looked at options. So many groups especially children using hall, therefore need to have good standard of accommodation. Referred to Fr K's letter attached to Bulletin. Option1. Has obvious long-term benefits. Option 2. £80,000 does not include the installation of services, more likely to be in region £100,000. Option 3. Guarantee of 25 years. However, not investigated under floorboards yet.

JM emphasised that any action taken needs to be parish community decision. Consider current position: £5,000 in debt, with expenditure increasing and income decreasing. £200.000 work needed over all 3 churches.

• Andrew Milne read letter from Lucy M.C. who is very active member of Task Force. Feels Task Force should have been consulted or at least asked to work with Finance Committee. Concerns shared by other members of Task Force.

• B Barnett questioned: 1) Who were quotes received from? Names of companies? (Conclave is one); 2) Who will be project managing? - JM and P Lawlor; 3) Start/ finish time: project 8 weeks duration, start a.s.a.p; 4) Once up and running, who will be responsible for maintaining/ managing the building? Suggestion of Finance Group; 5) Could groups who use the hall be involved? 6) Is there separate Bank Account for Marian Hall? One account managed by Finance Committee. All monies collected for Marian Hall have been ring-fenced for last 4 years with view to new build. Has occasionally been dipped into for maintenance with consent of Task Force.

• M Wood reinforced that purpose of meeting was about consultation with parish, not ignoring Task Force, no decision taken before meeting. Quotes obtained for consideration.

• R.d Lusignan: while acknowledging work of Finance Committee suggests that it should be Parish decision not just Finance Com. Fund was for new build. Fr K reiterated overall responsibility lies with Finance Com.

• R Duke's sponsored swim should raise in excess of £1,700 (nearly £1,800)

• Questions about benefit of new build, considering outlay. Feeling that people will not support unless very apparent benefits. Would it be possible to make it self-funding if facilities are good enough? £40,000 option would give shell and allow redesign and plan as parishioners want it. Option 2: gives a shell but still need to look at foundations etc and services. It was pointed out that even for Option 3 (£40,000) we still need to raise £9,000. Option 1 and 2 could take months/ years in the planning. Option 3 does not require Planning Permission. Option 3 will retain skeleton of building, will be same size. Anything good will be kept e.g. recently installed toilets.

• Agnes Milne voiced feeling that not actually asked people to give specifically via collection for Marian Hall for some time. Suggestions: 1) that we ask visitors e.g. Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals to make donations ; 2) 50 year anniversary next year – ask Town Council for support ; 3) ask for Diocesan support as church and halls are used for annual Schools' Mass.

• R Chafer asked if parish could see 3 quotes received – will be furnished.

• C Wadia pointed out that what we have at moment is a Budget Estimate for the purpose of this meeting, so that there were some figures to discuss. Actual quotes will be next step.

Other ideas / suggestions/ concerns:

• Interest free loans from parishioners.

• Recommendations of building companies from parishioners.

• Question about roof structure – flat roof, danger of children climbing on it. Reassured that roof structure sturdy, will have slight slope, new external guttering, downpipes and soakaway.

• Need to ensure appropriate use of hall.

• Main problems in current hall: toilets, heating, improved flooring, soundproofing.

• Possibility of running Quiz Night, Car Boot sales. UCM to donate funds from Fashion Show

• Benefit of Option 3, people would be able to use 8 weeks after start, won't lose current groups.

• Utilise parishioners with skills – limited response, but have a file of names. Important note that to get 25 year guarantee, need to use creditable company with up to date certification.

• Groups should have charge levied, but in this case the process would need proper management and parish relies heavily on volunteers to keep costs low. It was pointed out that in previous Parish Team minutes it stated that the hall would be free to parish groups while others would pay. Many groups are willing to donate.

General feeling of meeting was decision must be made. Vote taken in favour of £40,000 rebuild. (Option 3)

Summarising, Fr K felt grateful for volunteering spirit in parish. People been listened to and are willing to work together. Anticipated Diocesan support for adopting this plan.