Whitstable Family Fun Day to launch opening of Riverside Church and Caffè Eighty Nine

By Jun 09, 2016

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• Riverside Church and Caffè Eighty Nine at the heart of the new community church open their doors for the first time
• Charity Bank loan enabled the purchase and renovation of the new church

Riverside Church, formerly known as Tankerton Evangelical Church, is to host a family fun day on Saturday June 18th 10am-4pm to mark the official opening of its new church building, the re-purposed old Riverside press factory on the Thanet Way in Whitstable.

There will be children’s entertainment, a bouncy castle and games for all the family at the open day. Local residents will be invited to look around the new church and community space, at the centre of which sits a large cafe with entertainment area. There is a worship, performance and conference auditorium, several halls for events, smaller meeting rooms for hire and office and storage solutions for local charity organisations and good causes.

Caffè Eighty Nine, running in partnership with the church, operated by local café owner Julie Corke, is at the heart of the new building and will be serving its first customers at the launch event. Later in the evening, at 7pm, there will be a formal service to bless the new church building and everyone is invited.

Chris Izzard, senior pastor at the Riverside Church, said: “We want the church to connect with the local community and provide a social hub for everyone to enjoy. The family fun day will give people the opportunity to celebrate the opening together, meet new people and explore the space for themselves.

“It was an ambitious project to move the church from the suburb of Tankerton to a new development on a former factory site close to Whitstable's main commercial district and enterprise zone. Using existing sites and buildings is a modern church model and many others looking for larger premises are moving this way.”

The purchase and development of the building, now home to Riverside Church, was financed by a Charity Bank loan.

"The building is not the mission, the people who use it are and Charity Bank understood this and supported our vision."

Chris Izzard, senior pastor at the Riverside Church

Chris added: “We would not have been able to consider a project of this size without the loan from Charity Bank, which was key to relocating our church to cater for a growing congregation and meeting the need for a large community space to serve the local people. The building is not the mission, the people who use it are and Charity Bank understood this and supported our vision.”

Julie Evans, lending manager, at Charity Bank, said: “This newly adapted building, that lay vacant for many years, now provides a warm and welcoming place where the surrounding communities can enjoy time together. It will enable Riverside Church to provide a wide range of services to support the well-being of local people including counselling, youth work, children’s activities, lunch clubs and even cooking skills courses are planned for later in the year.”