All posts by Richard Dormandy

Marathon Route Mapped Out

The Greater Tulse Hill Marathon is being run by our vicar, Richard, on 4th October, with nearly twenty others running alongside for parts of the way.  Richard says, “I’ve only been running a couple of years, but I’ve managed 20 miles twice now, so I think I’ll be able to stagger through to the end.”

You can sponsor Richard here .  So far we’ve raised over £5,000.

The route has now been mapped out, you can look at it here: MARATHON ROUTE.  The runners one of the fastest 11 year old sprinters in England, one or two people who have never run more than a few yards, but have been training; and three older people with disabilities.  We want to make the marathon inclusive because our whole project is inclusive.

Put the date in your diary to come and support us – timings will be posted here.

New Painting by our Resident Artist

Model Making at Holy Trinity School Fair
Model Making at Holy Trinity School Fair

So – we did it!  Built a more or less to scale model of the new building at the school fair – just under 2metres long. Carrying it back to church was like transporting the ark of the covenant.  Fortunately no-one stumbled and met with instant death!  Here is Priscilla Watkins’ sketch of the proceedings.

Our model will be THIS big…

testing out the modelOnly another 46 bricks of florists’ foam to cut into 8… A bit more wood chopping, then pack it all away to be created at the Holy Trinity School Fair.  To represent hazel pins, we’ll be using kebab sticks (not shown here).

If it all comes together without all falling down it will be quite a good activity – though we might end up with the adults having fun more than the kids!

I think we may need to paint those bales yellow – before they are eventually rendered with Plaster of Paris at the Lambeth Country Show. Otherwise the foam will suck up the moisture and the plaster will crack.

salt dough tyres-webAnd check out our car tyre foundations(!) – 100 of them lovingly made by Jacky from Salt Dough, and painted at our homework club.

All in all, a great educational experience – and will be for all who take part.  The materials for this model cost a little bit.  If you would like to sponsor the model, donate here.


Preparing Straw Bale Model for School Fair

getting ready for the big model
getting ready for the big model

On 14th June at we’ll be making a 2 metre long model of the main part of our Straw Bale annex at Holy Trinity School Fair.  Those helping build the model will be able to see how a straw bale building is constructed and learn something about the advantages.

The “bales” will be made from flower arranger’s foam. The car tyres are formed from salt dough. Not quite sure about the roof yet – it could be thin mdf. Fulham Timber in Acre Lane will be helping with some scrap wood. We plan to repeat the operation at the Lambeth Country Show in July – but on this occasion we shall also “render” the model in plaster of paris.

£100k milestone reached!

Thanks to some sacrificial giving and great generosity our Straw Bale fund has now reached over £120,000.  That means we’re nearly a third of the way towards our initial fundraising target of £380,000.The figure includes a grant of £15,000 from the Church & Community Fund, but the rest has been mostly given be members of Holy Trinity Church.

Our next fund-raising focus will be the church Gift Day on June 15th.  However, what we also need now is to find some support from local business, the wider circle of Holy Trinity friends / former members, and some success with large grant applications.  Unless we have a large injection of external funding, it will be impossible to fulfill this project because the financial resources here in Tulse Hill are so scarce.

Could you become a Straw Stacker by donating £1,000 or more?

Click here to find out more.

We are of course putting together applications to various trusts, but it is difficult at this stage because the design is not finalised and fully costed, and the more a trust gives, the more detail they want from us. Meanwhile, of course, we continue to have various initial design expenses.

New Top for Straw Communion Table

Communion Table TopNow that our Straw Bale Communion Table is being given official permission by the Archdeacon of Lambeth, we need a more decent top for it, rather than the old bit of MDF we had knocking around the church basement!  So here’s the new top, with varnish drying in what was earlier a sunny window!

I wanted to use the project to experiment with some ideas:  the wood is ordinary osb, varnished.  I had an idea that it would complement the straw, and that in due course, we might want to use it for flooring in the hall.  It looks nice, but there are still some questions to be resolved about durability.

Then I thought I would make my own clay to fill the routed cross.  Since we are having the garden dug up for a new water main, there was plenty to hand.  The experience convinced me to buy ready-made clay plaster when the time comes.  There are lots of little stones in the average garden, and it’s jolly hard to get it to a workable consistency.

And then it cracked – which of course, is now part of the rustic design!

Church & Community Fund pledge £15,000!

Church & Community FundOur first bid for funding has been successful. The Church of England’s Church and Community Fund has awarded us £15,000. We bid on the basis that the process of self-building will increase community cohesion and enhance the church’s mission. We need to spend the allocation within two years. Thank you CCF – we’re making a good start!

Find out more about the Church & Community Fund here.

How to be a Bale-Builder

How to be a Bale-Builder

Becoming a Bale-Builder for Holy Trinity’s Neighbourhood Hub couldn’t be simpler. The cost of a delivered bale of straw is about £4.00 and to cover the total cost of our building we need the equivalent of about 95,000 of them!

To be a Bale-Builder, just decide how many bales you can contribute – it may be 3, 10, 30, 100, or even 1000. You can decide on any number. Multiply that number by 4, and that will be your contribution in £s.

Next, actually give the money. If it is a small amount you could donate by text. Otherwise, our preferred method is a direct bank transfer: details are here. If you want to give by card, you can do that through our Bmycharity page – though we have to pay a small commission for that.

Finally, find two other people you can persuade to also support the project.  You might even get them to find another two people each!  It might help if you give them one of our leaflets, which you can download here.

Once we’ve got most of our target fund of £380,000 we can start building.  At that point you’ll be able to actually join us on site, get training, and be a hands-on bale-builder!

Bale-Building Leaflet Published

leaflet-webOur new Bale-Building leaflet is now published and is beginning to be actively distributed. This tells you how you can support the building of Holy Trinity’s Tulse Hill Neighbourhood Hub.

The leaflet gives you background on the context, the commitment of Holy Trinity over the last 150 years, the size and viability of our amazing vision, and why community building with straw will make such a huge difference to so many people.

The principle of being a Bale-Builder is that you give something and find two other people to do the same.  You can download the leaflet here.

Archbishop becomes Patron!

Archbishop of YorkWe’re delighted to announce that the Archbishop of York, Rt Revd John Sentamu is to be Patron of our Tulse Hill Neighbourhood Hub. John was Vicar here in Tulse Hill for many years; he is warmly remembered and keeps in touch with a number of people. Several years before that he studied in Cambridge, where our current Vicar, Richard stayed with him overnight before an undergraduate interview.

Archbishop John  led and saw through the renovation of Holy Trinity’s main church building in three phases during the 1980-90s. He also initiated Phase 4, of which our current project will be the fulfillment. At that time, it was another Archbishop of York, Rt Revd Stuart Blanch who was President of the Appeal. Lord Blanch had been a former choir boy here at Holy Trinity.

Archbishop John says, “I am very pleased to let you know that having prayed and fasted about this project, I am very happy to accept your kind invitation.”