Work starts on a new library and accommodation at Ridley Hall

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Work starts on a new library and accommodation at Ridley Hall

In August of this year work began on transforming ‘A’ staircase into new purpose-built accommodation for single and married students and an accessible space for our library. The start of the building phase of the project is the culmination of nearly two years of planning and consultation with statutory bodies, including Cambridge City Council, as well as local residents.

In addition to creating an accessible library space for disabled students and visitors, the scheme will also improve access to the courtyard, the Principal’s Lodge, Dining Hall and Common Room.

Yvonne Desroches, who has restricted mobility, trained at Ridley Hall and is now an Ordained Pioneer Minister in the Diocese of Peterborough. Commenting on the building programme Yvonne said, “I am so pleased to hear that Covid-19 hasn't put a stop to the much-needed college building works, that will provide accessible accommodation, study space and community living for all at Ridley.”

Watch the video above for a tour of the works in progress.

A major part of the project is the relocation of our library space into the basement of the staircase, with ramp and lift access to make this space accessible for everyone, including visitors and students from across the Cambridge Theological Federation.

External view of accessibility works in the courtyard
External view of accessibility works in the courtyard

The Principal, the Revd Dr Michael Volland, said, “In line with Ridley’s vision to become a beacon of Christian learning and formation, we are committed to ensuring that our beautiful buildings and facilities are made fully accessible to everyone. When complete, the project will mean that those called to train for Christian ministry who have additional mobility requirements will enjoy unrestricted access to our library, lecture hall, dining and common rooms. This is a central part of our commitment to offering the kind of welcome and hospitality we believe are in line with Kingdom values.”

Chair of Trustees, Mark Spelman said “Our aim at Ridley is to provide an excellent learning experience for all students and steward our buildings so they are fit for purpose in the 21st century. This project is central to our development plans; it provides improved facilities for studying with unrestricted access. It will ensure all students are able to benefit equally from the learning, formation and community engagement that is at the heart of the Ridley experience.”

The project is expected to be completed by March 2021 and is being funded by a private donation to the college as well as a grant from the Maurice and Hilda Laing Charitable Trust.

Architect's drawings showing improved access to the dining and common rooms
Architect's drawings showing improved access to the dining and common rooms