Over the years, the congregation of Highgate United Church declined and the final service was held in June 2010.
At that time, a group of East Kent residents came together to transform the Highgate United Church into a cultural and community centre, both as a means of preserving a much loved heritage building and as a way of fostering the continuing life and growth of its community. Hence, The Mary Webb Cultural and Community Centre was formed.
The planning began to make the dream of revitalizing the former 100 year old United Church. Our business plan was to make a performance centre, art gallery, social hub, and reception hall for the community of Chatham-Kent.
The Board recognized that an extension to the existing building was imperative to meet the accessibility requirements and the concept and design for the addition began.
Since 2010, monies have been raised to make numerous upgrades and repairs to the MWC, to maintain and improve the Heritage building and to bring the original building up to fire and safety codes. Many improvements and upgrades have taken place in those 8 years – a new roof, restored stained glass windows, front porch, furnaces and air conditioning, upgraded power supply, refurbished front doors, fire doors, alarm system, smoke and heat detectors, innumerable touch ups as well as performance items as a state of the art light and sound system, reconstructed stage, stage curtains and carpeting! All of this accomplished through grants, donations and volunteer efforts.
In September 2016, we turned the sod and the expansion began with a $250,000 Grant from the Canadian Heritage Department and our own $100,000. The $800,000 addition is now completed and provides accessibility to all. We continue to fundraise, in every way, shape and form including generous local donations and fund raising efforts.