Case study: St Pauls Aberystwyth

With tired cupboards in constant need of repair and volunteers regularly using the space, it was time for an upgrade at St Pauls Aberystwyth

The brief
The kitchen was original to the building dating from 1992, with units similar to those found in a domestic setting. However, since the church building opened, the purpose of the kitchen and catering regulations changed, meaning it didn’t fully meet current requirements. Plus, with constant DIY and repairs, the kitchen was in desperate need of a replacement.

Decision making
Initial discussions about the kitchen started a number of years ago, when a small sub-group at the church was formed to drive the change forwards. However, after several firms failed to propose layouts that suited the way St Pauls was planning to work in the future, the sub-group drew up their own plans before contacting Steelplan Kitchens who made useful suggestions at their site visit.

It was agreed that the new kitchen units needed to be easily cleanable and long-lasting. ‘Many “commercial” kitchen unit suppliers have open shelf arrangements,’ Fred Farrow, Property Steward at the church, told us. ‘However, these weren’t suitable for us as there are various groups that use the kitchen with differing requirements – some just want tea and coffee while the community project prepares two-course meals. Open shelves need frequent cleaning, so cupboards were required.’

Funding was sought from various organisations and successful applications were made to The Methodist Church, Methodist Insurance Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, James Pantyfedwen Foundation and Aberystwyth Town Council; with this funding and, despite the implications of Covid, the sub-group were keen to start work asap.

Steelplan solution
As the church is run by volunteers, it was important to keep the more welcoming and homely feel of a domestic kitchen, with aesthetically-pleasing units. ‘A number of kitchen users and the Property Steward visited a previous Steelplan Kitchens installation,’ adds Fred, ‘and, while the heavy green and purple colours were not to our liking, the range of colours offered by Steelplan was excellent. Plus, the quality of the units was of a high standard.’

Offering a halfway house between domestic and commercial units, Steelplan Kitchens’ project included a full refurbishment of the kitchen, fitting the current footprint of the old kitchen.

The verdict
The church kitchen’s main purpose is to serve as a resource for the local community, with many rooms available for hire. There is also a weekday coffee bar, run mainly by volunteers and sometimes, local homeless people come in to use the shower and have something to eat too. The church is also in partnership with Aber Food Surplus, who look for outlets to use surplus supermarket food. Focused on reducing this waste, the church now cooks vegetarian meals using this surplus food, catering for around 35 people once a week.

‘The new kitchen will enable us to continue and develop our work with the community as well as encourage more people to make use of the upgraded facilities and to welcome them into our church community,’ Fred told us. ‘Unfortunately, the kitchen has not opened to date largely due to the pandemic and the various rapidly-changing regulations. There is currently a plan to open on a more limited basis, but we are hopeful that the service can be extended as we gain more confidence in working within COVID regulations.’

If you’re ready to take your next step in kitchen installation, call Steelplan Kitchens on 0844 809 9186 to find out more. Whatever the size or requirements, we can help.