Latest update on the building project
On 1st July we held an open meeting for the community to present the exciting plans for the renovation and improvement of the Synagogue building and facilities.
Those plans are presented in detail on the shul website and can be found by clicking on this link
The community meeting was well attended, with approximately 60 members present. The general reception to the plans outlined has been very supportive and positive both at, and since, the meeting. Many members have reached out to the building committee with feedback, comments and questions.
On Thursday 19thJuly the Synagogue Board met and agreed the following next steps:
Further design work on the plans will continue, now incorporating fresh community and board input received since the publication of the plans.
This work will include a feasibility assessment on the installation of a lift in the Synagogue building. A strong case for inclusion of a lift was made at the community meeting in the interest of enhancing accessibility. Such feasibility assessment will necessarily have to take into account cost, physical location and utility of a lift.
In addition, community members have made various practical recommendations that will also be considered such as: provision for cycle racks; renovation of black façade at front of building; requests for a grander entrance area; replacement of ceiling in main shul; installation of new windows in main shul; alternative ventilation solutions in main shul; more partitioning; double doors to cloakroom; double doors into kitchen; serving hatch in kitchen; integration of prep and main areas of kitchen; Bet Hamidrash external doors at rear; sliding glass doors in the function hall; and others.
All of these will need to be considered for their utility, feasibility and cost implications.
There is no intention at this stage to raise the budget above that outlined at the community meeting and agreed with the United Synagogue i.e. £1.5m. The current Buildings Committee will lead this work, in consultation with the professional team engaged on the project.
Consultations are at various stages of development with various interested groups and with external advisors.
These include: Nursery Management; Rabbi David; Frankie, our Caretaker; the Buildings Director of the United Synagogue; our Neighbours; a fire engineer, for advice about emergency provision; the CST, for further advice about security; and an external caterer, for advice about the kitchen renovation. All of these consultations will continue and be deepened over the coming weeks.
Consultations will also begin with regard to the planning process and with building companies that might be interested in tendering for the work. However no binding contracts will be entered into with any party at this stage. Again, all of this will be overseen by the Buildings Committee.
It is proposed that the fundraising initiative is now restarted in earnest.
A formal fundraising team will be created that includes Daryl Green and Steven Feldman. Initially this team will look to reconfirm existing donations, to devise a strategy to target new donors, and investigate the feasibility of raising funds from outside the synagogue membership (e.g. CST).
The fundraising target is £720,000 in line with the presentation to the community on 1st July. The United Synagogue has formalised its commitment to the project and its share of funding in a letter to the Executive.
The board would very much welcome the involvement of community members in our fundraising initiative. If members are interested in getting involved then please
You can see all of the updates from the building committee at a dedicated place on the website. From the homepage, click on Members, then MHS2020. Click here to see the updates.