Big Hearts, Big Buildings, Big Bills

Mar 18, 2017 | News


Telegraph Hill and the surrounding areas of New Cross Gate, Hatcham, Brockley and Nunhead are some of the best places in London to live.

What makes them special is the real sense of community – whether that’s experienced through the local schools, the parks, the festivals, the local pubs and cafes, St Catherine’s Church and the Telegraph Hill Centre – it’s what everyone loves about this corner of south east London.

We’ve all invested in this area over the decades – building the Telegraph Hill Centre, renovating the parks, creating the Hill Station cafe, fundraising for local schools, and redeveloping Sommerville Youth Centre.

Many have made generous contributions for the good of the whole community. That’s the culture here and it is something we love and feel very proud to be a part of.

But it’s not all roses … Between October 2016 and April 2017 St Catherine’s Church and the Telegraph Hill Centre shared some challenging bills.

  • Replacing a condemned 25 year old boiler and heating system cost the Church and Centre £56,000 (we got a very welcome £14,000 grant from Lewisham Council)
  • Management of the trees in the church grounds (lopping and pruning and felling a huge diseased Ash) cost £8,000
  • Drains (under the church and Centre) have been affected by the trees too and repairing these will cost a further £8000 (Summer 2017)
  • Underpinning in the church crypt has been a problem for a decade and will cost £10,000 (St Catherine’s Church received £6,000 its patron Haberdashers’ Livery Company and work will commence in Summer 2017)
  • We installed a new electrical system on the first floor of Telegraph Hill Centre at a cost of £15,000

That’s a total cost of £97,000.   Though after grants, the cost came down to £77,000, that’s still a lot of money.

  • St Catherine’s and Telegraph Hill Centre have used their reserves to pay for this work
  • It’s put both organisations in a tough place financially
  • We’re not in the red, but we do need your help

We need to raise at least £30,000 from this community – from the church congregation, from local people and organisations.

More would be lovely. But let’s aim for £30,000.   That sounds like a lot. But actually, if 600 people responded to this message and gave us £50, we’d do it. And we’re in touch with around 4000 individuals.

This is not about paying bills.   We’ve done that already.

This is about investing in the future of our community and ensuring that all the good things which spring from St Catherine’s Church and Telegraph Hill Centre working together with this community can continue to thrive. The money raised will be split equally between Church and Centre and put into a Capital Works Fund for each to call upon.

What if you raise more than £30,000?   Well, if we do we’ll look at how we can start to use the additional funds for redecorating the Centre or enhancing parts of the Church.

If we raise more than £40,000 we will look at investing in better lighting for both spaces, and in the Centre’s case some better furniture too.

We are living in challenging times.

Strong communities are needed more than ever to weather these storms. Activities like Telegraph Hill Festival, the annual Panto, the many classes, events and support the Centre provides daily, often for no cost, and the support both the Centre and Church have given the Festival, Hill Station and other local initiatives are all part of that mix.

No matter who you are, there is a home for you here.   Both Church and Centre are vital to ensuring that everyone in our community can continue to thrive. We need your help. We can’t do this alone.

Whatever your connection to St Catherine’s or the Telegraph Hill Centre (Marriage, Panto, Baptism, Festival, Sunday worship, Pilates class, Carol Service, AA meeting) we’re asking you to contribute to the #BigBillChipIn.

Every penny you give will be split equally between St Catherine’s Church and the Telegraph Hill Centre.

What’s our Fundraising Plan?

Phase one – During Telegraph Hill Festival there will be bucket collections at various events, please give what you can then.   A bucket of spare change can make a real difference.   But if you want to make the load lighter for our stewards, chuck in some notes instead!

Phase twoLater this year we will create a Just Giving campaign to enable people to contribute more substantially that way. As part of that we are getting a charity registration.

How else can I help financially?   You can send a cheque to the address below, made payable to St Catherine Hatcham PCC and write on the back #BigBillChipIn. If you send a cheque please make sure your name and address is on the back so that we can keep in contact with you, do include your email address too. If you take this route and you are a tax payer, please email so that she can send you a GIFT AID form, so that we can claim back 25p in every £1 you donate, from the government at no extra cost to you.

Once we start our Just Giving Campaign in the summer, what we will be asking is that every household donates £50. But a fiver would be fine if that’s all you’re able to afford. And £500 would be awesome.

Thank you for reading this.   Thank you for considering helping us.   Thank you for all you’re already doing.   Thank you for being part of this great community.