The Windhill Churches Centre

The Windhill Churches Centre is a fabulous award winning structure built in the beautiful grounds of the Old Monastery gardens, Windhill, Bishop’s Stortford in 2010 to accomodate the needs of  both the St Michaels Anglican Church and the St Joseph and the English Martyrs Catholic Church communities.

It was  seen as a milestone in ecumenical relationships with both neighbouring Churches working together to achieve and provide two large open hall spaces, each with their own kitchen, smaller rooms for meetings, parish group activities and also office accomodation. The St Joseph’s Parish Office is situated on the first floor and is open Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm.

The Centre is fully accessible to visitors having shallow ramps and an externally accessed lift that services all levels of the building.


All photographs courtesy of Mike Carroll

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The Centre is fully accessible to visitors, and has  shallow ramps and a lift that serves all levels of the building.

It is available for hire ONLY for those with an association or connection to St Joseph’s or St Michaels Church  or by non profit making organisations or for educational use.

In line with planning consent the centre will NOT be let out for the commercial gain of the hirer and must be vacated by 11.30pm on the day of the hire

( see full terms and conditions of booking).

The Windhill Churches centre is a Christian building and as such, Hirers should respect the Management Committee’s Christian ethics.

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The Entrance Foyer of the Windhill Churches Centre is accentuated by the specially commissioned glass panel designed by Anthony De Jong Cleyndert.

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St Josephs Hall can hold a maximum number of 110 Persons and is a perfect size for most events including family celebrations but also for larger meetings. It has a  modern fitted kitchen fully equipped with a fridge, freezer, microwave, dishwasher, twin oven and hob as well as a large selection of crockery, cutlery,pots, pans and glassware for use. The hall has a large quantity of chairs with tables available too if required. A ceiling projector and screens are installed with the facility to connect a PC, perfect for any presentation.

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The St Joseph’s Hall – perfect for family gatherings                                                                                                                                                              Photo courtesy of Sue and John Birbeck

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On the First floor is situated the St Joseph’s Parish Office ( open Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm) which has a comfortable seating area looking out onto the beautiful Old Monastery Gardens

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There are two meeting rooms on the first floor also, both of which are fully equipped with large solid oak tables and meeting room chairs namely  ‘The St Margaret Clitherow Room’ and the’ Upper Room’. Both of these rooms are divided by a folding door, which if opened forms one large room, capable of holding a maximum of 50 persons.

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The St Margaret Clitherow room ( pictured above) can hold a maximum of 20 persons and has access to a large flat screen monitor which can be connected via a HDMI cable to a lap top or DVD player for presentations.

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The ‘Upper Room’ ( pictured above) can hold a maximum of 30 persons . The dual aspect windows looks over the Old Monastery gardens. There is a very small kitchen/ tea point on the first floor which has access to a sink, kettle and cups – ideal for making a cup of tea during a meeting!

Windhill Churches Letting Policy AND Booking Form – Please ensure that you read this document carefully.

WCC Lettings Docs Book Form Kitchens

Safeguarding Requirements when using the Windhill Churches Centre

Church premises should give a sense of safety and security. For this reason even when they are being used by individuals or groups not normally associated with them (such as keep fit, dance groups etc), Church authorities should take all reasonable steps to ensure a safe and secure environment.

Whenever there are non-parish activities involving children, young people or vulnerable adults on church premises, the Safeguarding Representative must be informed.

Where a non-parish based group uses church premises on a regular basis the Safeguarding Representative much ascertain that they have a safeguarding policy in place for their organisation, including proper recruitment procedures for their leaders and helpers and that references and DBS checks have been appropriately obtained.Evidence of this must be provided and continued use of the premises will be subject to this condition.

A written agreement should be signed by non-parish based groups using church premises detailing that EITHER they have their own safeguarding policy OR they will follow the National Procedures of the Catholic Church. Please see form and complete with your Booking form Declaration on Safeguarding Procedures

If church premises are used on a casual basis or one-off basis for non-parish groups or events that involve children, young people or vulnerable elderly (e.g. parties) a written agreement is required that states:
It is a private booking;
The adults/parents organising the event will exercise a supervisory function and are responsible for safeguarding those who attend. Written Safeguarding agreement for a Hirer of Church Property

Health and safety including Fire Safety

Exits shall not be blocked nor obstructed. The main entrance should either be locked or ‘manned’ at all times to prevent unauthorised access to the Centre. It is the responsibility of the hirer/parish group leader using the facilities to be familiar with safety and evacuation measures and ensure all attendees are informed of the fire escape routes and procedure. The assembly point is at the rear of St Joseph’s Church. Those exiting the WCC front door would access the assembly point via the Old Monastery pathways or across the lawn. Those exiting from the rear of either of the two halls would exit through the side gate into St Michael’s churchyard and then assemble at the back of St Joseph’s Church via Cardinal’s Walk.

Group leaders should immediately report to the emergency services who will want confirmation that there is no one left in the building. It is good practice therefore to have a register of all attendees, so that everyone can be safely accounted for in the event of an incident and to ensure that the Fire service Officers are not put at risk if having to search the building unnecessarily.

Regular Group Leaders should practice a fire drill with their members.

The Hirer is responsible for the safeguarding of visitors to events and undertakes to be responsible for maintaining good order on the premises during the period of hire and while persons are entering and leaving

Information and Letter from Father Peter regarding Groups and Health and Safety in the Windhill Churches Centre

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What next…?

  • If you have read, understand and agree to the terms and conditions of our Letting policy ( see above) please contact Debbie in the Parish Office on 01279 654063 ( Monday to Friday 9am – 3pm) or email her on bishopsstortford@rcdow.org.uk to firstly check if the room that you require is free or to discuss your requirement in more detail.
  • Complete and sign a  booking form ( see above) and return with a deposit for £100  and also your booking fee, Cheques payable please to ‘WRCDT – St Joseph and the English Martyrs Catholic Church Bishop’s Stortford. This will be returned to you after your hire providing that there is no damage to the property and that all terms and conditions have been complied with.
  • If your booking is approved by the Management Committee,it is suggested that you make an appointment with Debbie so that she can show you around the Windhill Churches Centre to cover health and safety requirements, instruct you on how certain equipment works, answer any questions that you may have and provide you with a door access code so that you can gain entry on the day of your booking.