Since Shepherd Drive Baptist Church (SDBC) was re-planted in 2007, the church and its activities have grown significantly.
A few facts and figures before Covid-19:
- The Sunday congregation was averaging around 100 people, including 20-30 children.
- Our Messy Church events attract over 100 parents and children, and our ladies’ outreach evenings often have up to 100 present.
- At times, our parent & toddler group and the clubs for children and young people have had waiting lists as we have not been able to safely accommodate the numbers wishing to attend.
- Our two Christmas outreach services both attract numbers of 160-220.
Yet besides the main hall (which can comfortably seat about 150) we only had one classroom as a meeting space (with space for about 20 children).
What became SDBC began on the Chantry estate, Ipswich, in 1973 with a Sunday School, supported by what is now Cauldwell Hall Road Baptist Church (CHRBC) with a view to planting a new church on the estate. In 1995 a modern church building was built and opened on land leased from Ipswich Borough Council.
Developments in recent years:
The congregation and those attending church events continued to grow and in 2017 the church appointed an architect to prepare plans to enlarge the building. Ipswich Borough Council, as landlord, gave their approval in principle in late 2019, allowing the application for planning permission to go ahead.
The church maintains a high profile in the local community through its activities and outreach supported by its website (www.sdbc.org.uk) and its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ShepherdDrive). The fellowship enjoys good links with local schools and the local Sue Ryder Home and runs a range of contact groups for people in the area. These include a craft group, a senior citizens’ club, a ramblers’ group, children’s and youth groups, and men’s and women’s events. Almost 90% of those attending church events live within 4 miles of the church, with 30% living within 1 mile.
The building project:
The scheme will have a phased approach. The first phase has been to build an annexe hall and an annexe store (cost around £440K, including professional fees). The hall has toilets and kitchenette and so is capable of being used independently of the existing building.
We are thankful to the Trusts which have recently given their support, including.
The Beatrice Laing Trust £5,000
The Lord Belstead Charitable Trust £5,000
Allchurches Trust £15,000
IBC SW Area Committee £2,000
Garfield Weston Foundation £20,000
During November ’20 Church Members gave or pledged over £45,000, which showed huge commitment to this project. A further £15,000 was given by Church members in summer 2021.
Babergh District Council awarded us a £15,000 capital grant.
A contract with Abacus Build (UK) Ltd was then signed and work commenced on site on Monday 13 September ’21.
The building contract was substantially completed in July 2022 (grass seeding of the surrounding land will be carried out in the autumn).