Lancaster church officially opens new community centre

After seven years of planning and five years of fundraising, St Thomas’ Church Lancaster welcomed several bishops, Lancaster mayor Coun Mike Greenall, Lancaster MP Cat Smith, city council leader Coun Caroline Jackson and around 300 local residents through the doors of its new centre on Saturday March 12.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Monday, 14th March 2022, 3:07 pm

The open day event offered local residents an opportunity to see exhibitions of some of the community activities that are running in and around the new centre, including the church’s Children and Families provision, the Asylum Seeker and Refugee Support Network, the St. Thomas pre-school centre, ‘Style’ for local young people, ‘Extra Time’ activities for older people, Lyrics and Lunch for those living with dementia, and the Family Life Centre supporting parents and children.

Guided tours were on offer every half hour, showing residents the main highlights of the new centre, such as its environmental focus: the new centre proudly displays its Bronze Eco Church award below the solar panel display by the entrance. Complimentary refreshments, including lunch, were available throughout the day, and associate vicar Helen Scamman had made a celebration cake as a replica of the new centre, which was much admired.

Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, blessed the new centre and announced it officially open when he cut the ribbon with an extra large pair of scissors!

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Opening ceremony dignitaries including (left to right) Mayor Mike Greenall and his wife, Coun- Coun Caroline Jackson, North Lancashire Green Party and leader of Lancaster City Council, the Venerable David Picken, Archdeacon of Lancaster, Cat Smith, Labour MP for Lancaster, the Right Reverend Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, Rev Jon Scamman, vicar, St Thomas Church Lancaster, the Right Reverend Cyril Ashton, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Liverpool and former vicar, St Thomas Church Lancaster, Rev Helen Scamman, associate vicar, St Thomas Church Lancaster, the Right Reverend Sam Corley, Bishop of Stockport, and former curate of St Thomas Church Lancaster, the Right Reverend Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, and Tony Grimshaw, Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund.

Vicar Jon Scamman said: “We are delighted to see this seven year project reach a successful end with the opening of the new centre today. This could not have been achieved without the hard work and dedication of many volunteers within the congregation, generous donations from various grant funders and congregation pledges, and constant prayer as we navigated our way to this point.”

The Centre at St. Thomas’ Church, which is in Marton Street opposite Lancaster Police Station in the city centre, took 18 months to construct. Fundraising, congregation pledges and grant donations mean that the cost of the £2.5m centre will be met in full.

Rooms are available to hire and more information is available via the church website at or by calling the church office on 01524 590410.

Exterior view of the new centre.
The Bishop of Blackburn cuts the ribbon.
The St Thomas ‘Heart of the City’ new build project team.
The celebration cake of the new centre.