A Monton vicar has launched a public fundraising campaign to help pay for £100,000 renovations to make her church fully accessible for wheelchair users.

Reverend Anna Jarvis has set up a Just Giving crowdfunding initiative hoping to raise £10,000 towards the renovations at Monton Unitarian Church so that it becomes more accessible to wheelchair users.

The church was built in 1875, at the time wheelchair accessibility was not even taken into account.

In order for wheelchair users to move more freely, the entire floor surface needs to be levelled.

The church plans to increase the space between the pews allowing wheelchair users to be closer to their relatives and friends.

Anna said: “Within a couple of the pews, we are going to cut out the chunks and making a wheelchair base, so that the wheelchair user can be fully part of the congregation, as opposed to being stuck out on the edge of the aisle, which they are at the moment.”

Currently, the church uses a heavy portable metal ramp so that wheelchair users can access the building.

She added: “It does the job, but it is not very pleasant. As the entrance is narrow, when the ramp is down, nobody else can get in. This is not dignifying for anyone.”

The church also wants to install a new toilet, as there is not enough space for wheelchairs in the existing toilet.

The crowdfunding target on the Just Giving website has been set to £10,000. However, the surveyor has estimated that the entire cost of the renovation will be approximately £100,000.

So far, Anna has collected £285, which is only two per cent of her goal. People who have donated so far have a personal link with the church.

Donor Britta Leonarda has written: “Happy to donate to such a worthy local cause. I went to Monton Green School, was married at the church, all three of my children were baptised there as was my granddaughter.

Anna has previously used crowdfunding to repair heating problems two years ago, which cost the church £80,000.

She has been vicar of Monton Unitarian Church since 2015, and she wants to stay at least till 2025 when the church will be celebrating its 150th anniversary.

To donate for the renovation of the church, click here.

Images: Piotr Mielcarek

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