Access for All - Opening of Disabled Access Scheme

Access for All at Englesea Brook

A special service of celebration and thanksgiving was held on Sunday 24 November at Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum, to mark the opening of the Disabled Access scheme.

‘It has been a long journey’, said Jill Barber, Project Director, ‘and many difficulties have had to be overcome since the first plans were made, back  in 2004. We are absolutely delighted that we can now provide wheelchair access to every part of the site, including the Museum, Tea Room, Study Area, and Toilets.’

The service was led by Revd David Westhead, the District Property Secretary, and planned with his son, Mark Westhead, District Disability Adviser. Sadly Mark was in hospital, and unable to be with us, but we thank him for the vision which instigated the disabled scheme, to create access for all.   

The ramp was officially opened by Revd Douglas Savill, one of the longest serving volunteers at Englesea Brook, since its opening in 1986.  Before cutting the ribbon, Doug said a few words and asked everyone to say together the words of the song chosen by Mark Westhead (Singing the Faith 702):

I will speak out for those who have no voices;
I will stand up for the rights of all the oppressed;
I will speak truth and justice;
I’ll defend the poor and the needy;
I will lift up the weak in Jesus’ name.’

Thanks were expressed to The Joseph Rank Trust, WREN and the Cheshire Historic Churches Trust, who generously provided grants to enable the scheme to take place, the architects Tarpey Woodfine, and especially to Ian Stockley, of Trenton Construction, who cheerfully managed a solution to every problem.

After the service, everyone enjoyed refreshments in the newly opened Tea Room in the adjoining Cottage, now connected to the Museum by a ramp and covered walkway.

The new ramp gives an impressive entrance to the site, and is already attracting new visitors, as well as providing safer access from the car park for the many school children who come to take part in a wide range of programmes, including the Victorian Sunday School. 

‘We have already had wheelchair users coming to the Chapel and Museum, said Margaret Veal, Education Officer, ‘who are thrilled that they are able to visit this wonderful Methodist heritage site for the first time.’

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