St Jude’s Grade II listed church building was built in 1875 to provide a place of worship and to meet the changing needs of a rapidly developing Plymouth population. It has served the local congregation and community well for over 140 years as a church, but along with our Halls, it is limited in its ability to serve current and future generations for anything other than Sunday worship. We are keen to work with and for our local community, but our buildings restrict us so much now. A pilot project in partnership with our local GP’s, Councillors, Housing Association etc – St Jude’s Community Hub Cafe is thriving quickly showing there is a need, but it is limited in its scope and is just a foretaste of partnership that can be available if we can fulfill the vision for this project.

This process is often called ABCD – Asset Based Community Development – using a local asset to enable a community to begin to transform and thrive utilising local folk as volunteers. Many volunteer run projects can start, but they do need a building to work from. Currently many of the larger potential funders are avoiding financing buildings and want instead to give towards running costs and staff for projects, but this project is about providing the asset that those volunteers need so that it can be sustainable long term. Often buildings such as ours might get funds from heritage bodies to stay as they are – but this isn’t about heritage and staying the same – its about changing to keep a local low income community alive and thriving, Please do read further to see if you can be excited by it in the same way we are…

We hope that, as with the grand stately homes and the history that is told through their various extensions and upgrades when they were living buildings, we hope that folk will see the living history of this wonderful building through its many stages of life as it has served its community from one era, to the next, to the next. Its structure is being well preserved. The designs have been very rigorously investigated through heritage groups and the listings process for permissions. The resulting new internal re-arrangement will honour the past, while presenting a series of flexible spaces for the whole community to be able to use, not just the church congregation. It is the church members who have seen the vision and given so generously, raising on their own before any grants were sought, over £800,000 to benefit the local area.

A copy of the history of St Jude’s Church, “The Master Builders”, can be downloaded here.


We do have two church halls, each over 100 years old, whose facilities restrict them to mainly church uses only. These include giving up to 200 under 18’s a safe space each week as well as providing an Ofsted approved Pre-School for under 5’s. But, we are unable to offer the community the facilities we would like to until we change the church. It is only usable currently for Sunday services, has no toilets in the building so a short walk is needed to one of our halls. It has very inadequate heating (we are bringing forward some additional heaters in time for the winter of 2017 that were planned for the main project) and there are no catering facilities. There is difficult disabled access for some.

This project will make the church a community asset 7 days a week.


Now, St Jude’s is ready to undergo major renovation, making it ‘new’ again to respond to the needs in its local area, both as a place of worship and as a functional, accessible building for the wider community, including:

Three different sized meeting rooms, transforming the traditional ‘church’ interior into a multi-functional, flexible, well-equipped space

A fully equipped catering kitchen

Up to date audio visual facilities with the added facility of high quality streaming

Superfast Broadband & WiFi

A café / meeting area

Fully disabled accessible toilets

Wide and flat disabled access in all areas

Car Park


In an area with very few facilities for the community, these major improvements will enable the church to provide:

Purpose designed spaces, hosting anything from small meetings to conferences for 200

Training days

Youth work

Family events

Safe play for toddlers

Spaces for the community to use

A space to host events from outside agencies

St Jude’s is in the heart of an inner city area of Plymouth with some areas of the parish in the bottom 10% of national indicators for deprivation.

The area is short of community spaces and meeting places, and St Jude’s is ideally placed to meet those needs. However, the buildings severely restrict the quality, scope and delivery of every aspect of this provision, and make growth and expanding the capacity of these facilities virtually impossible. Due to our old buildings, many in our community are under-served by us, although we have the will and the capacity in every other way to deliver far more.


Since 2011, we have been working hard, raising funds, to convert this potential into reality:

£1.620 million whole site renovation project, to provide a fully functioning flexible community asset

51% of funds already raised (Autumn 2015), 49% required

£415,000 spent (initial refurbishment, professional fees, preliminary works, re-siting services)

An additional £400,000 sacrificially raised from the congregation of 120 people

c.£800,000 remaining to raised

The ongoing financial sustainability of the buildings is already assured, St Jude’s are a generous church and the upkeep and ongoing running will come from our general giving – we don’t need to raise funds from this new building. We also have a commitment from the Diocese of Exeter to partner with us assisting with cash flow, dependent on sufficient extra Grants and other funding being secured.

We are therefore now approaching Trusts and other Grant making bodies to help secure the remaining 49% of the finance we need, to ensure this project is finished in good time and to a high standard that will adequately provide local needs for many years to come.

This church’s congregation have been sacrificial in their giving because they have a vision to provide for their community, now we have all our permissions and can build it, we hope some partners might join us to make this wonderful set of old buildings into a revitalised and living resource for a community that has so few gathering spaces.

if you want to find out any more, do feel free to get in touch through our “Contact Us” page.