St Paul's Hounslow West had sat neglected and empty for two years before a local bishop's mission moved in. A small congregation was formed to start work on rebuilding the church and its congregation. While the kitchen was at the top of the renovations list from the start, it would be another two years until they were ready to call Steelplan Kitchens.
"We started as a small plant group, moving from St Stephen’s church to become the St Paul's Bishop's Mission Initiative within Holy Trinity parish," explains Buildings Manager Graham Neilson. "We managed to reopen the church in October 2012 with a congregation of less than 20!"
A lot of work needed to be carried out on the fabric of the building from the start. Extensive repairs were needed on the stone work and spire, and the church needed to be brought up to safety standards, which quickly ate up much of the church’s initial funding.
Eventually, in 2015, the church received a lottery grant and renovation work could begin in earnest. By 2016, the committee were ready to install a much needed kitchen.
The existing kitchen dated back to the late-nineties. A domestic MDF model, it had aged badly, with peeling laminate exposing the MDF underneath, rusted hinges and deteriorated surfaces making it an unsafe food preparation space (not to mention an unpleasant place to volunteer).
The committee were recommended Steelplan Kitchens by the architect who had worked on the rebuilding project. "We did have other quotes, but we liked what Steelplan offered," says Graham.
The powder-coated steel kitchen offered by Steelplan gave the church a semi-commercial option rather than a difficult choice between a sturdy (but imposing looking) commercial kitchen and a domestic model.
"The other fully commercial models were more expensive, and didn't look as good," explains Graham. "As we could have a Steelplan Kitchen customised with our own colour choice, we ended up with a kitchen that looked like a nice, modern B&Q kitchen, but had the strength of a commercial model."
Food prep: Stainless steel countertops
Dishwasher: Commercial dishwasher (cleans dishes in a matter of minutes)
Cooking: Electric range
Storage: Powder-coated cabinets, full fridge/freezer
The new kitchen allowed the small congregation to expand their presence in the local community and attract new members. The kitchen now supports events throughout the week, including a mother and toddler group on Mondays, an open café twice a week and an over 50s breakfast morning on Thursdays. The team also run a weekly foodbank.
"The café is always busy after Sunday service, and on Wednesdays it regularly attracts 50 – 60 people," says Graham. "That's without all the occasional events: at Christmas we hosted a three course meal, which we just couldn't have done in the previous kitchen."
Graham adds, "The kitchen has really helped us to reach out to the community, and help a relatively new congregation to connect. It's become a real part of our Sunday service."
From such humble beginnings, the congregation has now grown to over 100 and is a thriving part of the local community.
The inherent strength of metal and a combination of the benefits listed on this page mean that a steel Kitchen will far exceed the life expectancy of a standard wooden carcass kitchens in semi-commercial environments.
The polyester powder coated steel is impervious to water. No more swollen chipboard or rotting MDF.
The metal is fire resistant and the powder coat finish formulated so that no toxic fumes are emitted in the case of fire.
Unlike wooden/chipboard cabinets the Steelplan Kitchen carcass does not contain any material that may sustain, harbour or encourage insects or bacteria.
The powder coated finish means that the units can be kept to an extremely high level of cleanliness and hygiene at all times. Essential when used in health locations.
It looks great! The hidden steel backbone is dressed up with a choice of doors to produce whatever look and feel you want.