England’s largest Chapel of Ease to reopen after £2.7million restoration

England’s largest Chapel of Ease to reopen after £2.7million restoration

St Nicholas’ Chapel in Kings Lynn is due to reopen next month after undergoing £2.7m of refurbishment. In spite of being the UK’s largest Chapel of Ease with great historic importance, the Chapel had gradually declined in use over the years. Although the opportunity to offer it for event hire existed, the lack of facilities meant its future as an events venue was limited. The restoration project’s aims have been to refurbish and retain the interiors and upgrade the facilities to increase the Chapel’s appeal so it can be used as an events venue which also includes better access for those with accessibility needs. New solar panels on the roof enable the Chapel to generate its own electricity which helps control costs and generate an income through the Government’s Feed-in-Tariff scheme.     The rejuvenation of the Chapel has been given life thanks to the support of the Friends of St Nicholas’ Chapel community group in partnership with Churches Conservation Trust. The Grade 1 Listed Chapel is the largest building in the Churches Conservation Trust’s portfolio. The two parties jointly applied for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and were successful in gaining a Stage 2 award. Clarkson Alliance has been working with the groups to modernise the facilities at the Chapel, providing project management services. The Chapel will official open to the public on Saturday 12th September and the ribbon will be cut by a local resident who will be picked through a competition which is currently being run on Facebook. The closing date for the competition is Wednesday 2nd September.  ...
Black Cultural Archives boasts the best local café in Brixton say Brixton Buzz

Black Cultural Archives boasts the best local café in Brixton say Brixton Buzz

Black Cultural Archives (BCA) in Brixton can now add another accolade to its multiple awards – best local café for flexible working as announced by Brixton Buzz. It’s been a year since BCA opened the doors to its new heritage centre, offering a unique insight into the lineage of Afro Caribbean people to UK society. Since opening, the centre has won two Civic Trust awards and more recently successfully gained two awards at the New London Awards 2015 including London’s Best New Building. After ruminating over the different local options, BCA’s café has now been selected as the best venue in Brixton for working and relaxing after the centre was singled out on Brixton Buzz’s forum “Central Brixton Cafés for getting work done (laptop friendly.) ” This recognition is particularly notable as it comes directly from the users of the refurbished building, boding well for the long term economic success of the activity plan as agreed with funders, the Heritage Lottery Fund. As well as being able to use the café for ad-hoc visits, BCA also has a meeting room available for rent for larger gatherings. Having organised our own internal meeting with lunch served there, we can vouch for the sandwiches!   Images courtesy of Edmund Sumner We are extremely proud to have worked with BCA developing an asset that provides a deep and permanent connection to the rich history of the black community. Well done to BCA – fantastic to have the vote of confidence from the neighbourhood you serve!...
Modus asks “Does flexible working help or hinder productivity?”

Modus asks “Does flexible working help or hinder productivity?”

Flexible working is a long debated issue and in the UK we are not totally at ease with the concept. Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics show that 87% of the UK workforce is still mainly office-based compared to the US. For our business we see flexibility as critical to attracting the talent and skill set required to deliver our particular area of expertise. Our Managing Director Graham Clarkson was recently quoted in Modus magazine  outlining the reasons why we operate a flexible model. As an SME the business has been built on this foundation and we believe the positives far outweigh any perceived issues, although the critical element to making this work is trust. Many employers are sceptical when it comes to adjusted timetables or working from home arrangements as they believe employees are easily distracted and produce a lower output. On the contrary, we find that our employees often voluntarily work beyond contracted hours thanks to a passion for what they do and a deeply entrenched company value of outstanding customer service and collaborative working. For all of our employees, the flexibility we offer allows them to maintain a healthy work / life balance and as such they are motivated to produce a higher output and fully unlock their potential. As Graham mentions in the article, staff are accountable for what they deliver and we have cloud-based systems that track and monitor project profitability, so any underperformance is picked up before it becomes an issue. Employees do come into the office as required and a strong team dynamic prevails. We are constantly sharing our experiences...
Sacrewell Farm: “When the representatives from the Heritage Lottery Fund walked down the path, they said ‘wow’ and they were extremely complimentary about the project”

Sacrewell Farm: “When the representatives from the Heritage Lottery Fund walked down the path, they said ‘wow’ and they were extremely complimentary about the project”

We are delighted that one of our more ambitious heritage projects has recently been officially opened to the public with much excitement and press interest. Sacrewell Farm in Peterborough was a challenging renovation of an 18th century mill – one of the top 8% of listed buildings in the UK which we project managed and successfully advised on the application to secure funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Mill enjoyed an impressive launch weekend as the site was transported back in time with many people who were a significant part of the Mill’s history in attendance to share their stories. Costumed volunteers featuring dress from across the ages of the Mill’s history were also on hand to help. As with all heritage projects, one of the main challenges was to preserve and restore as much of the original fabric of the building as possible, including the mechanics of the actual water mill which was working in fine order during the launch alongside a new hydro-electric installation that renders the farm sustainable as it feeds into the National Grid. Photos of the Opening Ceremony Content from Sacrewell Farm press opening The Mill stopped producing flour back in the 1960s. The intention is to start baking again with the newly milled flour once all the health and safety plans are in place. The Rutland and Stamford Mercury covered the opening of the Mill in a superb article which can be found here “We have, so far, had a very positive response. When the representatives from the Heritage Lottery Fund walked down the path, they said ‘wow’ and they were extremely...