In March 2018 we began construction on the St Bernard’s project working in partnership with Onward Housing Group. We gained planning permission in November 2017 to continue our trail-blazing community-building programme on the land generously gifted to HPBC by the Liverpool Roman Catholic Archdiocese. St Bernards Church had been empty for five years and had fallen into disrepair.
We are currently in the process of converting the former church into eleven 3-story, 3-4 bedroom houses, and are also building four new 2-bed apartments and a 3-bed house in the grounds. We have continued to work with Ainsley Gommon Architects, who have worked closely with planning and conservation officers from Liverpool City Council whilst completing their plan for the site. Many of the houses will include features from the original church, such as stained glass windows, in their new homes.
This project has attracted a diverse group of people with a strong desire to be part of a cohesive community. Home partners include: couples with and without children, single parents, single people, a mother and daughter; local Liverpool born people, along with people from Spanish, Polish, Cuban, Nigerian and Yemeni backgrounds. The age range varies from late 20’s to mid 60’s; and religious backgrounds include Jewish, Muslim, Christian and people of no faith.
We have continued to offer training opportunities to students and graduates from Liverpool University, Hugh Baird College, and Liverpool John Moores University.
Two students from ESTP and La Rochelle universities in France completed 2 and 4 month volunteer placements in summer 2018 and another student from La Rochelle will be doing a placement in January 2019.