St Michael's Church

Stoke Gifford, UK

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St Michael’s Church, which serves a growing parish, expanded its facilities to create a hub for the local community, with the help of a loan from CAF Bank.


For centuries, St Michael’s Church has served the small rural parish of Stoke Gifford, on the outskirts of Bristol. As this community has expanded into a substantial conurbation with more than 20,000 people, the church congregation has grown to 350.

St Michael's Church has developed into a community hub to support a growing parish.


St Michael’s identified a pressing need, not only to serve an expanding congregation, but also to provide a hub where the wider community can come together.

To achieve this vision, plans were drawn up to build a new church and community centre, restore the 14th Century St Michael’s Church and refurbish the existing meeting spaces. The church launched its ‘Heart of the Community’ project in 2012 to raise the £5.5 million required.


St Michael’s raised the bulk of the money required from gifts, pledges, grants, fundraising events and interest-free loans from members and friends of the church. Loan finance, provided by CAF Bank and another lender, helped St Michael’s to meet its funding target for the project’s first phase.

Chris Bradley, Treasurer, St Michael’s Church Centre Ltd, explains why the church chose to work with CAF Bank, “They were open to the proposition; our project appeared to fit with CAF’s mission of supporting the charitable sector; and the interest rate was competitive”.

Working closely with a lending partner has helped St Michael’s to begin realising its ambition of building community spirit by bringing local people together, as Chris elaborates: “From our first contact, CAF Bank was very supportive of our project - the centrepiece of which was the construction of a new church and community centre. Receiving the loan enabled us to open the first phase of the centre, providing a 300 seat ground floor auditorium, meeting and seminar rooms for use by the church and community.”


Church goers are already feeling the benefits of the new centre. The Bible Study Fellowship was one of the first groups to use the new building. Rachel Corbin, Teaching Leader, said “The large auditorium and the mix of big and small rooms give us a huge amount of flexibility to run breakout sessions as well as a class for pre-school children.”

The new venue’s benefits to the local community are highlighted by Mark Freeman, Head Teacher of St Michael’s School. He explains, “we have been able to put on productions for our parents on a scale that we would have been unable to do previously. We have also run a training day at the centre for 200 staff from several local schools – this was a superb opportunity for school staff from across the local area to meet together. This would not have been possible without this new facility.”

View how St Michael's was built, video produced by Rob Wicks.

If your charity has ambitions to develop new services, scale up capacity or diversify sources of income, call our charity loan experts now for a free consultation on 03000 123 444.

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