St Matthew's Community Halls


History and Development

In 1999 the Parish Halls of St. Matthew’s Church, Barrow-in-Furness were in a poor state of disrepair and narrowly avoided demolition. As a result, the Halls were rented to community groups from South Ormsgill in an effort to raise capital and in January 2001 they became a Community Centre. In March 2001, as usage increased, a new committee was elected. It negotiated a 21-year lease and efforts to raise money for the repair and improvement of the facilities began in earnest.

To improve the main fabric of the building a large injection of cash was needed. With this in mind the Management Committee applied for charitable status, which was approved in October 2002.

The Management Committee have maintained a steady stream of improvements at the Halls. They have been decorated and made secure, windows repaired, safety features fitted and the main kitchen renovated. A neglected, unkempt strip of land outside the Halls has been transformed into a safe children’s play area and a Jubilee Garden, with space for young people to grow food and flowers.

Through the hard work and dedication of the volunteers involved, the Halls have become a key community resource with 14 user groups and a weekly attendance averaging at around 450 people.

Development Targets and Timeline

Phase 1 - Making Halls suitable for use           (1999 – 2004)

Decoration, Heating, playgroup & Play area, Garden. Security Camera installed in car park, Fibre glassing of gullies, new emergency doors in lower hall, new seats for upper hall.

Phase 2 - Legal Requirements & Urgent repairs     (2005 - 2006)

        Electrical supply, Boilers & Heating, Roof repairs/replacement,  Toilets, Windows. 

Phase 3 - Maintenance and sustainability  (2006 – 2009) 

  • Employment of Centre Manager
  • Employment of Cleaner
  • Repair Leaking middle section of roof - undertaken in two stages, entrance porch and roof and main roof
  • Replace downstairs kitchen

  Phase 4 - Future Development  (2009 – 2011)

  • A new entrance to lower hall with new toilets
  • Create new office for Centre Manager
  • Move kitchen for upper hall to be parallel with lower hall kitchen
  • Create new small letting space - perhaps a dedicated space for the Police
  • Repair and replace where necessary the gutters and downspouts throughout the building
  • Resurface Car Park with tarmac
  • Create proper storage area under stage in Upper Hall
  • Add a permanent loop and sound system to Upper Hall and a mobile loop for Lower Hall

 Phase 5 - Financial Independence (2011 – 2014)

  •  Undertake sole responsiblity for paying the Centre Manager