VIDEO: Sale of disused church leaves charities looking for new homes

APPEAL: John Bottomley, a trustee of the Immanuel Project, which is appealing for help in finding a new base as St Mary's Church is put up for sale

APPEAL: John Bottomley, a trustee of the Immanuel Project, which is appealing for help in finding a new base as St Mary's Church is put up for sale

First published in News
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Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

UP to 12 Bradford charities working out of a disused Catholic church could soon be homeless now that the landmark building is up for sale.

St Mary's Church in East Parade has so far stirred up lots of interest from potential buyers delighting its owners the Catholic Diocese of Leeds but the sale boards advertising the listed building have left charities supporting the city's homeless and vulnerable with the threat of having nowhere to go.

One of the affected charities is The Immanuel Project which has about 150 people relying on it for basic needs when it opens there once a week, offering food, a street doctor service and even haircuts.

Others based there include The Curry Project, the Bradford Metropolitan Food Bank, the Welcome group and an AA meeting.

The church has also been the centre of plans by the Emmaus charity to convert it into a shelter and self-sustaining community for men who need a roof over their heads.

Now, Julie Thompson, one of charity's trustees, admits the £1 million scheme is "up in the air" until a new owner is agreed but she is hopes whoever the new owner might be willing to support the charity and let it continue with its scheme.

She said: "Everything's come to a standstill, it's up in the air until there's a buyer. We just hope the new owner will let us get on with it, there's been a lot of hard work going on."

The diocese's property administrator Kevin Anderson said: "Since the building became empty in 2006 we have been working with a number of charities, including Emmaus and it still has its plans but regrettably the trustees here had to make the decision that the property had to go on the market.

"Unfortunately Emmaus had not been able to come up with sufficient sponsorship in that time to progress with its scheme, however if there' s a potential for Emmaus to work with the new owner then that's still a possibility."

Mr Anderson added: "The building is deteriorating and is no longer required by the Catholic Church. We don't want to see it waste away. Over all those years we have given free use to the charities, probably up to about 12 of them, and we have paid for their gas and electric bills and repairs but it's got a point now that we can no longer continue to do that.

"There's been quite a lot of interest on the market and we have considered some offers but no decision has been made yet and we are waiting for our new bishop to be appointed to give us guidance."

Janet Bannister, trustee and founder of the Immanuel Project, said: “We knew time was running out at St Mary's.

"It's been a fantastic home to us over the past four years but we knew we were on death-row really and would soon have to find somewhere new.

"The building's in a bad way and getting worse, we're a growing charity and faced looking for a new place anyway to do everything we want to do, to open more often, offer more services and help more people. There's a desperate demand for us in this city."

Anyone able to help the Immanuel Project in its search for a new home should e-mail theimmanuelprojectbradford@gmail.com

Comments (7)

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9:48am Fri 15 Aug 14

allannicho says...

Was the "Mother" church for Bradford Catholics and such a beautiful
one at that.
Another "Good" part of Bradford gone for ever, is Owt left?
Was the "Mother" church for Bradford Catholics and such a beautiful one at that. Another "Good" part of Bradford gone for ever, is Owt left? allannicho
  • Score: 11

11:20am Fri 15 Aug 14

Albion. says...

The charities have had a fair go from the church and Bradford isn't exactly short of other empty properties, hopefully the new owners will turn it into a thriving business.
The charities have had a fair go from the church and Bradford isn't exactly short of other empty properties, hopefully the new owners will turn it into a thriving business. Albion.
  • Score: 6

12:51pm Fri 15 Aug 14

Robin of Loxley says...

allannicho wrote:
Was the "Mother" church for Bradford Catholics and such a beautiful
one at that.
Another "Good" part of Bradford gone for ever, is Owt left?
Blame the 'flock' for that.
[quote][p][bold]allannicho[/bold] wrote: Was the "Mother" church for Bradford Catholics and such a beautiful one at that. Another "Good" part of Bradford gone for ever, is Owt left?[/p][/quote]Blame the 'flock' for that. Robin of Loxley
  • Score: -5

3:25pm Fri 15 Aug 14

aletheia-emet says...

Robin of Loxley wrote:
allannicho wrote:
Was the "Mother" church for Bradford Catholics and such a beautiful
one at that.
Another "Good" part of Bradford gone for ever, is Owt left?
Blame the 'flock' for that.
the only people to blame is ourselves who have abandoned such beautiful buildings and forgotten our heritage - shameful

those from other communities have done their best to keep up with their religious identities whilst we have forgotten ours
[quote][p][bold]Robin of Loxley[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]allannicho[/bold] wrote: Was the "Mother" church for Bradford Catholics and such a beautiful one at that. Another "Good" part of Bradford gone for ever, is Owt left?[/p][/quote]Blame the 'flock' for that.[/p][/quote]the only people to blame is ourselves who have abandoned such beautiful buildings and forgotten our heritage - shameful those from other communities have done their best to keep up with their religious identities whilst we have forgotten ours aletheia-emet
  • Score: 0

3:53pm Fri 15 Aug 14

Robin of Loxley says...

aletheia-emet wrote:
Robin of Loxley wrote:
allannicho wrote:
Was the "Mother" church for Bradford Catholics and such a beautiful
one at that.
Another "Good" part of Bradford gone for ever, is Owt left?
Blame the 'flock' for that.
the only people to blame is ourselves who have abandoned such beautiful buildings and forgotten our heritage - shameful

those from other communities have done their best to keep up with their religious identities whilst we have forgotten ours
If other communities can do something about it, why not yours ?
[quote][p][bold]aletheia-emet[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Robin of Loxley[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]allannicho[/bold] wrote: Was the "Mother" church for Bradford Catholics and such a beautiful one at that. Another "Good" part of Bradford gone for ever, is Owt left?[/p][/quote]Blame the 'flock' for that.[/p][/quote]the only people to blame is ourselves who have abandoned such beautiful buildings and forgotten our heritage - shameful those from other communities have done their best to keep up with their religious identities whilst we have forgotten ours[/p][/quote]If other communities can do something about it, why not yours ? Robin of Loxley
  • Score: 2

8:20pm Fri 15 Aug 14

mark04 says...

Very sad was a beautiful church remember it packed for Sunday masses in the 60s.The great shows at the Scala,and St Marys boys school next door.
Presume not listed in any way,so could be demolished,as I said Sad.
Very sad was a beautiful church remember it packed for Sunday masses in the 60s.The great shows at the Scala,and St Marys boys school next door. Presume not listed in any way,so could be demolished,as I said Sad. mark04
  • Score: 1

2:38pm Sat 16 Aug 14

Bikerbeardy says...

aletheia-emet wrote:
Robin of Loxley wrote:
allannicho wrote:
Was the "Mother" church for Bradford Catholics and such a beautiful
one at that.
Another "Good" part of Bradford gone for ever, is Owt left?
Blame the 'flock' for that.
the only people to blame is ourselves who have abandoned such beautiful buildings and forgotten our heritage - shameful

those from other communities have done their best to keep up with their religious identities whilst we have forgotten ours
Sorry, dont have a religious identity, what does one look like ?oh, and god dosent exist either !!, but thats just my opinion, as we are all entitled to have our own :)
[quote][p][bold]aletheia-emet[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Robin of Loxley[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]allannicho[/bold] wrote: Was the "Mother" church for Bradford Catholics and such a beautiful one at that. Another "Good" part of Bradford gone for ever, is Owt left?[/p][/quote]Blame the 'flock' for that.[/p][/quote]the only people to blame is ourselves who have abandoned such beautiful buildings and forgotten our heritage - shameful those from other communities have done their best to keep up with their religious identities whilst we have forgotten ours[/p][/quote]Sorry, dont have a religious identity, what does one look like ?oh, and god dosent exist either !!, but thats just my opinion, as we are all entitled to have our own :) Bikerbeardy
  • Score: 1

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