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Beacon Of Hope

The Junction Church has recently purchased the former Beacon Bingo building on Baxter Gate. Over the next 10 years, we will work to restore the building back to life, creating a space in Loughborough that will serve the whole community.

The vision is to renew this wonderful art deco building so that it recaptures something of its former glory, and serving as a community asset in Loughborough.

Over the past decade, the Junction Church has pioneered a range of community initiatives to serve local people. One of the most successful of these was ‘Summer Madness’, a holiday sport & activity scheme that supported hundreds of families during the height of the summer holiday season. This was run by a team of over 100 local volunteers. As well as this, we currently run a wide range of community action projects including food banks, warm spaces, stay and plays, kids and youth clubs and a weekly soup kitchen that serves free meals to folks who appreciate a little help. We anticipate the development of more local community action projects.

In these challenging times, our heart is that the former Beacon Bingo building will stand as a beacon of hope in Loughborough and beyond. As a church community, our faith in God means a great deal to us. Indeed, it’s that faith that inspires us to believe for better days ahead.

Below is a Q&A with practical details about how we’re going to restore the building. We hope you find it helpful. If you have further questions, please submit them to:

help us restore the beacon bingo building Loughborough

How Did the Purchase of Beacon Bingo Come About?

The Beacon Bingo club closed permanently in March 2021.

Some time ago, we wrote to the registered owners of the building expressing an interest in purchasing the site. We could see the potential of the property as a community hub. However, we were disappointed to learn that a sale had already been agreed upon and subsequently completed in 2023.

However, we were in contact with the new owners who, after a series of positive conversations, agreed to sell the site including two ongoing occupational leases for £1.25 million. Our aim is to ensure the property will serve people in Loughborough.

What Is the Current State of the Building?

The property is tired and in dire need of new investment. It is fair to say that if the maintenance of the building had been neglected for much longer, it would likely have fallen into a state of disrepair that may well have become irreparable. For example, damp & moisture in the building would eventually have led to erosion that would have compromised its structure. Thankfully, extensive surveys have shown that the building is structurally sound and all issues are totally reparable at this stage. This means we can take immediate steps to care for the building without delay. Research has shown how other similar neglected buildings became so dilapidated that they ended up being demolished. It would be a travesty if the former Beacon Bingo building was lost due to neglect. By stepping in to purchase the property, we will work to ensure its longevity.

What’s Your First Priority in the Building?

Our first priority is the professional removal of asbestos from the building. At various points, possibly over years, asbestos seems to have been disturbed. For example, it appears that holes have been unwittingly drilled into sections of asbestos walls. Some asbestos tiles are also crumbling, possibly caused during the installation of equipment. Indeed, we were surprised to discover a discarded bag full of material marked ‘asbestos’, stored in a room.

The associated risks of asbestos exposure are well known. Any disturbance must always be handled professionally and carefully, ensuring members of the public are not exposed to danger.

An asbestos survey commissioned earlier this year confirmed that the type of asbestos in the building is among the lowest grade, known as Chrysotile. However, it can still be a dangerous substance when disturbed. So to ensure the safety of everyone who enters the building, we will commission a specialist company to remove all disturbed asbestos from the building, making it a safe and clean environment. One company has estimated a timeframe of around two months for removal.

After Asbestos Removal, What’s Next?

When asbestos removal is complete, we will have a huge clear out. Over the years, a significant amount of rubbish has gathered in various parts of the building. This will need to be discarded before any further work can commence. During the clean-up, we’re going to arrange a morning when local people can safely pop in to collect memorabilia from the building, including bingo tables and tombolas. We know the hall holds some great memories for many people. This will be a way of preserving those memories.

What Aspects of Renovation Will You Prioritise in The Short Term?

There are a range of things we want to reasonably accomplish in the short term. This includes minor refurbs, deep cleaning, repairs of fixtures and tasks like fittings and painting.

However, two major jobs will be priorities in the short term.

For a start, the roof needs serious attention and some quite urgent work. Inspections of the ceiling have shown several leaks, which have been getting worse in recent years. We will immediately repair the leaks. Over the medium term, we will need to completely replace the entire roof. This will require long overdue investment. The replacement will include insulation which will help the building retain heat, thus reducing its carbon footprint.

The second priority, again requiring significant investment, is to completely replace the heating system. The current system is antiquated and not fit for purpose, designed for the 1930’s and not the 2020’s. The large vents through which the boiler pumps heat lose the majority of any heat produced.  Furthermore, upon inspection, we were surprised to find fresh air vents blocked up, presumably as an attempt to prevent further heat loss. However, the latter prevents much-needed fresh air from getting into the theatre. We will therefore install a brand new heating system that will be efficient, effective, economic and environmentally friendly.

The Building Is Grade 2 Listed. What Does This Mean?

While many people will only have known the building as ‘Beacon Bingo’, it was originally a cinema and theatre in 1936 and remained so for around the first 40 years of its existence. It was only solely used as a bingo hall from the mid 1970’s.

The grade 2 listing was issued in 2007. It may have never become a bingo hall had it been listed in the 1970’s.

The Grade 2 listing was issued because of the unique design of the building by architect Arthur J. Price. This means that any future renovation and repair planning will need to ensure original features are retained.

Is Grade 2 Listing a Hindrance?

We do not see this as a hindrance. As a community made up of local people, our heart is to preserve and restore the building. We love the design and layout, and any plans will always seek to enhance features, not alter them.

To this end, we would like to remove a number of additions which were never part of the original building, including a number of stud walls which have been built over the years. This will allow those spaces to be opened up back to their original appearance. Meanwhile, any proposed work to the frontage of the property will be carried out with respect to its history.

What Will Happen to the Main Hall?

The main feature of the building is the large theatre, originally designed to seat around 1,700 people. Our vision is to re-create something of the beauty of the original theatre, a venue which would have inspired creativity and stirred imagination when it first opened in 1936. We will work to transform this into a truly great local venue once again, not only hosting contemporary services each Sunday, but also attracting performances and events to Loughborough. The potential footfall of the latter could be a real boost to local businesses.

How Long Will It Take To Renovate the Building?

This is a long-term project which will require a staged approach. Being a Grade 2 listed building means we’ll need to work in conjunction with planning authorities regarding repairs and refurb. We have set ourselves a goal of 10 years. It may take longer than this. However, we are committed to the project and aim to make the building something Loughborough will be proud of.

How Will Any Repairs Be Funded?

Members of the Junction Church have already raised over £230,000 towards the building project. Looking ahead, we will be partnering with a number of funding agencies who offer assistance in the restoration of properties like this. We’re under no illusions about the scale of the challenge. However, we are well placed for the project.

What Will It Mean for a Church To Own the Building?

This means we will seek to steward the building wisely and responsibly, ensuring it never again finds itself in the run-down state it is currently in. It will require significant commitment to ensure the building is overseen with care and excellence. While church services will happen on Sundays, the building will be utilised throughout the week to host a range of community action projects. The huge benefit of a church community is that it comprises local people from a range of professional backgrounds. This includes engineers, builders, planning specialists and architects. Our heart is that the building will be a beacon of hope in Loughborough that serves all people, irrespective of circumstances.

How Will The Local Community Benefit From the Building?

The building will be used to facilitate a wide range of current community action projects. These include; youth clubs, kids clubs, warm spaces, food banks, stay and plays and a soup kitchen which serves free meals every week. These are areas of huge need in town. Looking further ahead, we aim to open the building for community events, for example, supporting families during the summer months and other holiday seasons. When we conclude work on the main hall, we aim to make this available to the community for venue hire.

Will You Be Renaming the Building?

At some point, a name change will happen. It would not make sense for it to continue to be referred to as “Beacon Bingo” since this ceased trading in 2021. Indeed, it is not without precedent for the building to be renamed. There have in fact been several name changes over the years.

Will the Local Community Be Updated on Building Progress?

Yes, updates will be communicated on this dedicated web page. Furthermore, we would love local people to come and help with the project! Any thoughts or ideas people might have are welcome too. Send your thoughts and ideas to

How Will You Engage With Local Businesses?

We understand we are living in challenging times. Our respect for local business leaders is huge, especially since they’ve had to navigate significant economic difficulties over recent years. As such, we’d love to explore working with local businesses, being a support in whatever way we possibly can.

We also want to be good neighbours to those around the immediate area. As such, we will seek to keep our neighbours updated of any proposed works to the building, especially any works which might involve the placing of scaffolding around parts of the building. It is our heart to listen and be considerate while we get on with the work of restoring the building.

Have You Consulted the Council on the Project?

Yes, we’ve already been in contact with the council to let them know of our plans for the building.

We are keen to work with the council as we seek to serve the local community.

Are You Committed for the Long Term?

Yes, we are committed to this project for the long term.

It is no exaggeration to observe that if the building had remained in a state of neglect, it could easily have been lost. A building like this needs to be genuinely valued and treated with the respect it deserves for the ultimate benefit of the Loughborough community as a whole.

We’ll be working with the community to restore this wonderful asset, ensuring it is protected and preserved for a very long time to come.

If you have any comments or ideas, please send them to: