Straw build

11 July 2014

TULSE HILL, in Southwark diocese, lies between Brixton and Streatham, and has the reputation in some quarters of being the centre of gang-related murders among young people. But the Vicar of Holy Trinity and St Matthias, the Revd Richard Dormandy, wants Tulse Hill to be known for something better.

The church is planning a much-needed Neighbourhood Hub of an innovative kind, and has already given or pledged more than £150,000, which is phenomenal considering that the average personal income in the area is less than £19,000. "The hub will be self-built by volunteers from church and community using straw-bale construction," Mr Dormandy says.

"As a result, it will be ultra-green and affordable to run. The DAC has been very positive, and we are currently raising the £380,000 needed. To paraphrase Isaiah 2.4, we want to be 'turning guns into hammers and knives into plastering trowels'.

"The Hub will be the first straw-bale church building in the UK, and the first straw-bale community building in inner London. Tulse Hill is in the eight per cent most deprived areas of the UK, and we need lots of financial help to make it happen. If 1000 people can support us with just £26 each, it will take us a long way forward."

To this end, Mr Dormandy will be running a £26,000-marathon, hoping to raise £1000 for every mile he runs on 4 October. Patron of the appeal is a former incumbent, now Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu. To sponsor him, visit the website

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