St George's Church Place opens as a 'church hall' at former Mr Pang's Chinese restaurant in Stamford
A £1.5 million renovation of a former Chinese restaurant has turned it into a hall for St George’s Church in Stamford.
Once the Mr Pang’s restaurant in Cheyne Lane, the building now features a main hall that seats up to 150, an upstairs youth space for 11 to 18-year-olds and additional side rooms for offices and meetings.
Called St George’s Church Place, the centre will be used for toddler groups, a range of community courses, and other activities that link to the church’s work in the community.
It formally opened to the public on Friday last week.
Martyn Taylor, who joined the church as curate in 1996 and has been its rector since 2003, said: “It’s pretty exciting because it’s the church hall that St George’s has never had.
“We have grown as a church over the years and during that time we had the little rectory on St Mary’s, and the old St George’s Place opposite the St Mary’s Vaults pub. In the past 20 years we have done a lot from that building.
“Then, a couple of years ago we opened St George’s Hub opposite Marks and Spencer’s for our staff team. That increased our footfall in terms of people seeking help, and we needed more space for our network activities.
“We noticed Mr Pang’s was up for sale and thought this could be right for us, and it went from there."
Having joined the bidding, the church was later notified that it had been selected as the preferred bidder.
To fund the project, the church sold its property in St Mary’s Street and a house in Ryhall Road which had been left to the church by Winnie Turner, a member of the congregation.
It also held a ‘gift day’ which saw parishioners donate £335,000 and was given a couple of grants, including £20,000 from the Lad’s Club which paid for a wheelchair-friendly lift giving access from the ground floor of St George’s Church Place up to The Zone, the area for teenagers.
The Rev Taylor admitted the opening of St George's Place would involve a ‘step up’ in terms of running costs, but that this could be met because the church was growing.
Attending the opening on Friday were Eddie and Jenny Chan who ran Mr Pang’s before retiring.
Mr Chan said he was pleased with the transformation of the building, which he had for 27 years, and admitted it looked ‘very different’ to how he remembered it, especially the kitchen, which has shrunk to about a quarter of the size it was when it served the restaurant.
Read about one of the financial courses offered by St George's to people in Stamford.
More images from the opening in the gallery below.