Wye Methodist Church shut its doors in March 2020, when the first Covid lockdown forced all churches to close. Most have reopened, but the Methodist trustees decided instead to cease worship, and just auction this Grade 2 listed Victorian building to the highest bidder. Then, only days before the auction in September 2021 they withdrew the lot.
"The end of over 150 years of worship is sad, but the building itself is not redundant. Until the pandemic struck us, it was in daily use as a very busy community centre, and with luck and help - we can bring it back to life."
Before Covid, around a thousand community group activities happened here each year. For generations, it served the needs of all age groups well. The regular bookings included weekly social gatherings like Options Club, with classes for dancing, yoga, adult education and Pilates. There were many one-off events too, like children's parties, exhibitions and meetings."
" For over a hundred years this building acted as a centre of community life in Wye. We need to keep it in community use, to support clubs and activities and the health and wellbeing of our residents. As a first step, the Parish Council has asked the trustees in Manchester to meet and discuss options"
In parallel, the Parish Council nominated the whole building as an asset of community value (ACV) under the Localism Act 2011, and after a long delay at Ashford Borough Council it is now listed.
Cllr Noel Ovenden, Wye ward member and chair of Wye Parish Council