Reimagining & redevelopment of a community information hub
- Client: The Akeman Benefice
- Service: Website Design & WordPress Development
Industry: Religious Organisation
Completed: April 2021
The Akeman Benefice is a group of churches situated in North Oxfordshire. There are seven rural churches in the Benefice: Bletchingdon, Chesterton, Hampton Gay, Kirtlington, Middleton Stoney, Wendlebury and Weston on the Green. The Rector of the Benefice is The Reverend Gareth Miller.
Within The Benefice it was important for the website to be updated and evolve with a community focus. Welcoming more parishioners and being a central hub of information was of upmost importance. Events and Services was something which Gareth wanted to promote on the website in addition to welcoming new people to attend.
Creating a brand new identity
The previous site needed a strong visual identity. Due to its blog aesthetic it did not lend itself to a site for a group of churches. The page structure needed to be simplified in order for the content to be easily found by users.
The original website had lots of different pages that were not always updated and key things like dates and service details were on separate PDFs. The navigation was reworked and pages were re-homed to aid the user when browsing the site.
Efficient Website Management
In partnership I developed a fully responsive WordPress website that enabled The Akeman Benefice to engage with a wide audience to promote events, services and provide key information.
It needed to be easy to maintain and help support multiple users to take ownership of certain key areas of the website. The previous site required lots of administration and updating manually on a regular basis.
As well as being a space for providing information there were some key functional requirements that were a critical to the build. These were:
- Church Service Lists
- Events Module
- Individual Landing Pages for Churches
Church Service Lists
Dynamic (live) Church Service Lists were something that Gareth requested early on in the project. They had always listed all of the services in each church across all seven sites in a PDF file.
With the launch of the new site, each church has the ability to add their own services for them to be visible on the main services page and also on the individual church pages.
As the community is the heart of each church within the Benefice it was important to have space to promote their events. This is visible within key landing pages and sidebars. They dynamically pull through only the events specifically for that church, as well as archiving recent events.
Individual Landing Pages for Churches
Each church has the ability to maintain their own space on the site. This includes a history page, any church specific announcements, how to find/contact details, events module and photo gallery.
The final website
The final website has been well received within the community and during the pandemic it has really come into its own as a central point of reference.
Its been a great place to promote their online programme. Adding “Online” as a new location helped give them flexibility in the future to run online only events and services.
The benefit of using WordPress is the ability to expand and develop the website further in the future. This was something that was important to them and has helped future-proof the site.
Knowledgeable and professional and unfailingly courteous
Lee helped our group of seven churches design a new website from scratch. He was knowledgeable and professional and unfailingly courteous.
Lee hadn’t worked with a church before, but he was very quick at learning about us and adapting his ideas to our concept and context. When we kept coming up with new ideas and changes he was very flexible and unflustered! We now have a website of which we are extremely proud, and have received hundreds of very positive comments.Gareth Miller