Landmark Stourbridge church given possible lifeline by dance school

Credit: Google

St John’s United Reformed Church on the outskirts of the town centre, was put up for sale after closing following a final service almost 12 months ago to the day.

However hopes of a brighter future have been bolstered by Halesowen-based dance company, Danse Vivante, who run classes across three locations in Birmingham, Sandwell and Dudley. The group have registered an interest in taking over the site. 

A popular building in the area, the church was forced to close after a dwindling congregation made it financially unviable to keep it open as a place of worship. A number of community organisations also used the building, including the local food bank and Brownies and Guides who met there weekly.

Hundreds of signatures were gathered on a petition to save the building, launched just a day after for sale boards went up. 

Speaking to the Express and Star, Pippa Coley, who trained with the school for four years, said:

“The roof needs fixing but we have plans to make the inside usable for lots of different places. Groups such as Slimming World are also up for getting involved – we want it to be a real hub.

“The church is really local to us as we are based in Halesowen. We have the funds but now we need the support and awareness and the backing of the community.” 

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, who represents the Wollaston and Stourbridge Town ward, added:

“This is great news that the building will be utilised for the purpose of a business. It’s a good boost for the town centre as a whole too. A lot of the time these buildings may be converted into accommodation, so it is great that [the group] are thinking differently about utilising it. 

“I am hopeful that this will attract others to join forces and then it may have a better chance of taking off in the area. I can see this having a long and successful life ahead.”


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