Issued: May 21, 2016
PICTURE: (left to right) The Archdeadon of Harlow, the Venerable Rev Martin Webster, Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing, Bradley Walsh and Canon Rev Geoffrey Connor CLICK HERE
Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing backs Heart of Epping project
Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing has praised everyone involved with the Heart of Epping project to build a community centre adjoining St John's Church in Epping.
Mrs Laing was among more than 100 people who attended a reception and presentation hosted by television celebrity Bradley Walsh.
Mrs Laing said: “I was delighted to hear that the project has now received its full planning approval and that every effort is now being made to get the 'Heart of Epping' development to its next stage.
“St John's Church is already quite literally at the heart of Epping and a community centre building adjoining the church will only further strengthen the church's role as a focal point for the community in the town.
“I thank everyone who has been involved with the Heart of Epping appeal so far, and wish them all the very best as the massive fundraising effort continues.”
Bradley Walsh has said the Heart of Epping project will be a massive boost for the "sensational" St John's Church and for the Epping community as a whole.
The plans are for a community centre adjoining St John's Church providing community space, meeting rooms and a cafe.
Funding has already been raised to cover the cost of preparing the project and getting it to the planning approval stage.
Now the fundraising effort is focusing on raising £1m to build the facilities and an additional £1m to equip the new building.
Bradley Walsh, the television actor, entertainer and presenter of The Chase quiz show and Tonight at the London Palladium, introduced various members of the church and local community who explained to the audience what the new Heart of Epping building will mean to them and the town.
Mr Walsh, who is one of the patrons of the Heart of Epping appeal, said: “It's something that this area has needed for a long, long time.
“There are some of us here who won't be here forever; that gives us a chance to leave a legacy. This is the hub of our community.
“This place is sensational. When we get a community hall attached to the church, the church can only go one way, and that's up and up and up.
“We will do some fundraising. £1m will be the first stage. It's a big ask but…”