Sudbury charity completes purchase of former town church

Gareth Cole and Shirley Moore of Sudbury Hive sign the contract to buy the former church with John Smith as a witness

Gareth Cole (trustee), Shirley Moore (chair of Hive) sign the contract to buy the church with John Smith as a witness - Credit: Sudbury Hive

A Sudbury charity has officially completed the purchase of a former town church - with a handover ceremony planned for this week. 

After several years of fundraising, Sudbury Hive now owns the former Christ Church United Reformed Church in School Street, Sudbury, with plans to transform the Grade II-listed building into a community hub. 

The church closed in 2018 due to dwindling congregations and went onto the market for £650,000. 

Following negotiations, the charity agreed a deal with the URC Eastern Region Synod to buy the historic former church. 

The building will now become The Hive Community Hub - offering medium to large-sized rooms and halls which can be used to serve the needs of organisations and groups in and around the town. 

Shirley Moore, chair of Hive, and trustee Gareth Cole signed the contract of ownership in late September and a ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, October 26 when chair of the East of England Synod trustees, Andrew East, will handover keys to the building. 

The charity said work on the building has been underway since the purchase was completed on October 1, clearing overgrown vegetation, reconnecting electrics, gas and water and preparing the building for use.

The spire light has also been switched on again, much to the delight of people in the community. 

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New signage has been put up around the building and work is continuing so the building can be used by community and voluntary groups as soon as possible, the charity said. 

Christ Church United Reformed Church in Sudbury Picture: CHRIS SHIMWELL

Charity Sudbury Hive has officially completed the purchase of the former church - Credit: Archant

Mr East said: “Following the closure of the Sudbury United Reformed Church, the URC Trust is delighted that the building has been purchased by Hive, thereby ensuring it remains available for community use to the benefit of the town.”

Mr East will be joined by Andrea Pittock, head of grant programmes at Suffolk Community Foundation, through which major funding towards the project has been donated.

Most recently, the project has been supported by the East of England Co-op, from their Co-op Community Cares Fund, although the charity said more fundraising will be needed to pay for repairs and renovations over time.

A formal opening ceremony, where all funders will be invited, is planned for late November, and an open day, for residents to look around the building, will also take place in the future.