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St Martin's Church in Liskeard is the second largest parish church in Cornwall. The building is a beautiful medieval listed building, with parts dating back to the early 1400s.

What was the problem?

We are extremely blessed with our church hall complex, which is used by a host of local groups and clubs. However, it is now so well used that we are turning away people who would like to use it. Meanwhile, whilst open to the public, the church itself stands empty most of the week. The layout of the church, which is predominantly filled with pews, means there are limited opportunities for our community to make use of it.


In addition, our ancient heating system has finally died and needs replacing with a more eco-friendly system that will allow the building to be used throughout the week.


What was the solution?

We applied for and received all the necessary approvals to reorder the church to make it much more flexible for community and church use. These changes have indeed created one of the largest flexible spaces, and without doubt, the most atmospheric venue available in Liskeard.

What did the church reordering involve?

The reordering project involved several phases, with the final phase being completed in Spring 2019:

Phase 1

  • Removing the majority of the pews to provide an open space that can be used for a wide range of community activities. The best pews have been retained and repositioned.
  • Ensuring the building is kept at a constant comfortable temperature throughout the week through new eco-friendly underfloor heating. This will also help preserve the ancient fabric of the building.

Phase 2

  • Improving the general facilities, by adding a kitchen, second toilet, and crèche area.

Phase 3

  • Improving security with an upgraded CCTV system.

Phase 4

  • Adding an etched glass screen to the entrance to the war memorial, depicted the last battle: St Michael defeating the Devil.
Phase 5
  • Installing the new seating and upgrading the audio visual systems.
Phase 6
  • Refurbishing the Lewis organ.

Why is community engagement so important?

Our mission statement is "As disciples of Jesus, sharing God's kingdom through outreach and caring for others". For many years we have put this into action through a host of activities, providing a range of services for our local community.

Examples include:

  • our ABC (Adults, Babies and Children) parent and pre-school children group which typically attracts 60 to 70 family members each week during term time.
  • Open the Book, presenting bible stories to over 800 children in three primary schools each week.
  • Friday club, bringing fun and games, craft and bible stories to 10 to 15 children in St Martin's Church of England school each week.
  • Our weekly youth club during term time.
  • The monthly Café Abundance, which uses food the supermarkets were about to throw away as past the sell-by date to feed people on a "pay as you feel" basis.
  • A free monthly film club showing a family-friendly film. So far this year we have shown “Cars 3”, and the coming months will include “The Lego Ninjago Movie”, and “Paddington 2”.
  • A free Wednesday lunch club for the older residents in the town, bringing them together for a cooked meal and fellowship.
  • This Liskeard Community website, providing a host of local information for our residents and our visitors.

How will the new look Church building be used?

We have already had expressions of interest from groups looking to perform concerts and dance classes, and we expect the church to be used for art festivals, flower festivals, pop-up cafes and markets, and possible film shows. Through this increased community use we will also be bringing many more people into this beautiful ancient building.


On Sundays, the open spaces and additional facilities will also allow much more scope for new styles of worship services.

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