Church - Friends
Droxford Community Hub and Heritage Centre
2019 was the most exciting in the seven year history of the project to restore and enhance the church in Droxford. We fulfilled our ambition to build the Community Annex to provide the toilet and kitchen facilities essential to the sustainable future of this Grade-1 listed Norman church. The foundations were laid in the summer of 2018 and we launched an Appeal to the local community in October 2018, for £75,000 to enable us to complete the building. Following a tremendous response to the Gift Day on 2nd December 2018, we had raised sufficient funds to appoint a main contractor (Jason Williams) in January 2019. Progress was rapid and by March the exterior walls and the roof were complete, with the flint walls and pitched roof blending well with the existing building and attracting favourable comments from the village and walkers passing-by.
The Friends are extremely grateful to all those families and individuals who have generously donated – without whom we would not have been able to complete the construction phase. The Appeal remained open until the end of June 2019, to fund fitting out and equipping the Community Café and the Heritage Centre.
In addition to individual donors and many fund-raisers, we gratefully acknowledge the grants received from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Hampshire County Council, Garfield Weston Foundation, South Downs National Park, Allchurches Trust, Headley Trust, Droxford PCC, and the Droxford Country Fair.
Wilfrid’s – the Café on the Meon
On January 6th 2020, Wilfrid's Cafe opened for the first time. Powered by a new team of volunteers under the auspices of Droxford Community Hub CIC, Wilfrid's offered coffee, tea and cakes on three afternoons per week (Monday, Thursday and Friday). In spite of the adverse weather, trading in the first 10 weeks exceeded our expectations, however, owing to the Coronavirus Emergency, Wilfrid's closed at the end of March. It will re-open as soon as government regulations allow.
The success of Wilfrid's Cafe will not just be in the trading results, but in the opportunities it provides for building our community in Droxford and the surrounding area; for the volunteers who say that they love working in the Cafe because they meet new people; for the visitors to the Cafe who enjoy having somewhere to come for a chat; for the dog walkers, bike riders & joggers who drop in for a cup of tea after their activity who like our ‘muddy boots & dogs welcome’ policy; for those that have begun to use the facilities for their Club or meeting; for those who are interested in the history of Droxford who come to look at the Heritage display. Many different successes - all of them helping to build a sustainable community.
As Wilfrid's move forward we are planning to extend the opening hours to fit in with the longer summer days, and hoping to extend our weekly opening times and perhaps open on Saturday mornings. We are always looking for more volunteers to join our cheerful and sociable team (full training provided). If you think you might be interested in volunteering or baking for the Cafe please contact Margaret Wallace on .[email protected]
The Heritage Centre was an integral part of the main Lottery Heritage Fund project, and was also supported by the South Downs National Park. It has been designed to display the history of Droxford’s church and community from Saxon times to the 20th Century. The displays were installed in the North Aisle in December 2019. Highlights include John of Drockensford, Chancellor of England in the early 14th Century, and Churchill’s visit to Droxford Railway Station before D-Day in 1944.
Looking to the future FODC will continue to raise funds and seek donations,in support our three charitable objects: to preserve our wonderful Norman church; to encourage and support the heritage of the church and the local area; and to support our local community, with a particular focus on Wilfrid's Cafe. More on our strategies for each of these objects can be found on our website and in future issues of the Bridge parish magazine.
John Symes, Chairman, FODC
- St Mary and All Saints Church