Posted: Mon 3rd Oct 2022

New lease of life for ancient Flintshire church as work begins on Well-Being Centre

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Oct 3rd, 2022

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An ancient church in Holywell, long associated with pilgrimage and healing, is hoping to receive a new lease of life when it opens as a Well-Being Centre. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

St James’ Church, which is above St Winifred’s Holy Well, ceased to be the regular place of worship for the town in 2007 when St Peter’s Church was built on Rose Hill. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Now, funds are being raised to launch Well-being @ St James’, which will see the church transformed into a place for healing and community. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

This will include space for a parish nurse and various support groups, as well as a cinema, coffee shop and a dedicated space for prayer. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

In addition, the people of Holywell will continue to be able to use the church as a warm and comfortable setting to celebrate key life events. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Work has already begun by a team of volunteers, led by a project manager, to start the restoration of the building and a new chapel space has been created. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Regular gardening days are held to clear the grounds and open days take place to welcome visitors and pilgrims. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Applications have been made to a number of grant-making bodies to raise more than £470,000 to finance the project. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The Vicar of Holywell, Father Dominic Cawdell OGS said: “Well-being @ St James’ seeks to breathe new life and imagination into the much-loved church of St James.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The churches in Holywell have been at the heart of the community throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, providing food support and access to a range of services.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“This work has revealed the levels of need in our town and people now look to the church for support.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The opening of a well-being centre at St James’ will significantly help people further in practical, emotional and spiritual ways.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Project manager Father Christopher Powell

Holywell has been a place of Christian healing and pilgrimage for centuries. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

St Winifred’s Well is reputedly the longest continual place of pilgrimage in Europe and is an important part of Wales’ national heritage. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The renewed church building will contain a coffee shop in the south aisle, run in collaboration with local charities to enable those with learning difficulties and mental health issues to find employment and support. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

There will be provision for a counselling service in the new Well-being Rooms and a parish nurse, who will provide support to all in the community. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Several support groups will be based at the Well-being centre, offering help with bereavement, cancer and dementia amongst other issues. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Large services, such as weddings, funerals or Remembrance Day, will continue to take place in the main body of the building which will also be used as a community cinema and a space for concerts and performances. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The project manager for Well-Being @ St James’ Father Christopher Powell OGS said: “St James’ is facing a bright future and these are exciting days. ” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We’re looking forward to revitalising this important part of Holywell’s heritage and making it available to all those who need it.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Donations to Well-being @ St James’ can be made via Fundraiser by Dominic Cawdell : Well-Being @ St James’ ( and a book of Donors will be kept in the church to remember all those who financially support the project. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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