Faith in Community
22 Sep 2010
A derelict church in Manchester is transformed into a community centre after investment from local mosque
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A community centre established by church members will be opening this autumn in Levenshulme, South Manchester, following investment by a local mosque.
The Woodfold Avenue Bohra community made headlines back in 2008 for building Manchester’s first eco-mosque. It has now become one of the largest investors in the Levenshulme Inspire community hub, with a52,000 stake.
The project will see a stunning church building on Stockport Road saved from neglect and transformed into a bustling multi-use centre for the local community.It will include a cafe, meeting rooms for hire, a media enterprise centre, a range of business and enterprise support, a church and a wing of social housing apartments.
The team behind Levenshulme Inspire said the project is committed to serving some of the most disadvantaged citizens in the area and will stay at the heart of the community by hosting a regular forum.
Centre director, Kate Chappell, said: “It is wonderful to see the community pulling together to make it a better place for us all.” She added: “Levenshulme Inspire exists to celebrate the diversity of the area and bring people together. We look forward to working further with all members of the community in shaping the activities of our vibrant hub.”
To cover the complete renovation and refurbishment of the building, which is over a century old, a fundraising campaign has drawn support from a wide range of sources, including the Big Lottery Fund, Manchester City Council and the Homes and Communities Agency.
Kate was thrilled by the investment of the Bohra mosque, saying: “The level of support has by far exceeded our expectations.” The money came from the Bohra community’s international leader, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, who granted it to Manchester City Council for use in a worthy project, when he visited the city to open Woodfold Avenue eco-mosque two years ago. The money had remained unused until now.
Dr Mustafa Abdulhussein, trustee at the Bohra mosque, said: “Levenshulme Inspire promises to be the most beneficial project in decades for the youth of the area and certainly deserves the support it has got. I’m sure it will be a huge asset to Levenshulme and the mosque is very pleased to contribute to it.”
“The mosque’s investment symbolises the strength of inter-faith relationships in our community,” Ed Cox, church leader, commented. “The relationship between the church and the mosque began with plans to develop a joint youth club which we hope will come to fruition when the centre opens.”
The City Council formally signed off its 125,000 contribution ensuring that the funding package for the building’s refurbishment is now complete. “With the squeeze on public sector funding and the government’s emphasis on the role of social enterprise and Big Society to take some of the strain, this is a very wise and strategic investment by Manchester City council,” said Ed.
Contact: The Levenshulme Inspire Partnership,
Stockport Road, Levenshulme, Manchester M19
Telephone: +44 (0)161 224 5877
Jenny Nelson took part in the Positive News journalism course for young people in 2008, which was run in association with the Arvon Foundation
Members of Levenshulme Inspire in front of the church building
which is being transformed into a dynamic new community facility
Photo: copyright Levenshulme Inspire
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