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Case study

Rundown church kitchen given new lease of life to benefit Bidston community in Birkenhead

A rundown space where people love to socialise in Bidston, Birkenhead has been transformed thanks to a partnership between property maintenance firm Liberty and housing association Onward.

St Oswald’s Church is in the heart of the community and is relied upon by many, including local people who use it for support groups, companionship, and as a place to keep warm.

The church’s kitchen was in desperate need of modernisation, so Liberty’s service delivery team stepped in, donating their time and skills to replace crumbling units and worktops and level the flooring. The team also revamped the toilet facilities by laying new flooring.

Thanks to the partnership, Liberty have transformed this space and groups including the local Ladies Fellowship, Men’s Group and new toddler group Little Caterpillars are already benefitting from the renovations, which took three days to complete.

Reverend Joe Smith, of St Oswald’s Church, said: “The kitchen was originally installed in the late 1980s and had since fallen into a state of disrepair. It was not fit for purpose and wouldn’t pass new environmental health checks. Due to financial difficulties following the Covid-19 pandemic, we could not fund a new kitchen ourselves, we reached out to a number of charities and Liberty and Onward agreed to donate their time and resources to get our kitchen fit for purpose again.

“Now we have a wonderful new kitchen thanks to their efforts and the church can hold community clubs. We’ve just started the Wednesday Warm Club, an opportunity to meet new friends and have a drink. We recently purchased a new oven so we can turn it into a lunchtime group where the community can get a warm meal and make new friends.”

Property services experts Liberty have worked closely with client Onward Homes for 18 months, delivering responsive repairs and heating services and renovations to its customers across the North West.

Contract Manager at Liberty, Mark Wilson said: “At Liberty, we’re passionate about giving back to the neighbourhoods we work in, and that’s why we reinvest two-thirds of our profit into communities.

“We were delighted to help out with this project when Onward asked. The church is a real community hub but was in a bad way, so this transformation was very much needed.

“It’s great to see the positive impact the support they offer vulnerable people within the local community is making, and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with Onward and St Oswald’s Church in the future.”

In addition to the three days of labour the Liberty team provided, £2,000 worth of materials to complete the job were donated.

Joanne Danaher, Director for Housing and Homeownership for Onward, said: “St Oswald’s Church provides vital services to support our Beechwood customers, and we are thankful that Liberty agreed to this social value project to improve the facilities and modernise the space for the community to enjoy for years to come.

“We can do more together to make a positive difference in our communities, and we look to our contractors to reflect and support us with this key aim. When it comes to making The Onward Difference, we know we can’t do this alone, but by working in partnership.”