What is the ‘Laudato Si’ Centre?

The ‘Laudato Si’ Centre’ at Wardley Hall, Worsley, is our bold and ambitious response to the international call by Pope Francis to people of all faiths in his letter ‘Laudato Si’ – Care for Our Common Home’.

The vision for the Centre, when complete, is that the centre will operate as an education and outreach mission that generates environmental hope, rooted in the belief that we can all make a difference through the actions we take.  Our mission is to provide the tools and learning needed to enable all to hear and respond in hope to the cry of the earth and cry of the people.

The centre is named after The Laudato Si’ document from Pope Francis – an appeal addressed to “every person living on this planet” for an inclusive dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. Pope Francis calls the Church and the world to acknowledge the urgency of our environmental challenges and to join him in embarking on a new path.

To visit our Laudato Si’ Centre website, please visit https://laudatosicentre.org.uk/

What are we trying to achieve?

The ‘Laudato Si’ Centre’ will engage with people of all faiths and none. We will provide spaces for learning and inspiration for our schools, parishes, and the wider community. They are vital hub for local community groups and schools to fall in love with nature, to experience its beauty first hand (a lot of pupils from urban areas would struggle otherwise), and to inspire the next generation of guardians of creation.

Young boy takes part in educational activity at the Laudato Si' Centre to learn more about how the ecological crisis affects our brothers and sisters around the world

To reach our full potential we will use the land, woodland, and unused buildings on the estate of Wardley Hall. The site gives us a rare opportunity to repurpose redundant space. It is our opportunity to be bold, to create a flagship environmental centre that will help people to learn how they can take practical action to tackle climate change and work towards a sustainable world.

We have consulted with our stakeholders and the wider community, and we know that there is a wish for this in our area.

Why in Salford and why Bishop John?

We understand the need for the Church to use its voice, its people, and its resources to create a different legacy for the next generation. A legacy built on joy, hope and renewal as we strive for a better way to live together in harmony with our common home.

That is why we are immensely proud of the creation of the Laudato Si’ Centre in the grounds of the Bishop of Salford’s residence.  Bishop John Arnold, the Bishop of Salford, is also the spokesperson for the Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales on the Environment.  He has proactively challenged his diocese to take the lead in responding to Pope Francis’ exhortation and to make the diocese of Salford a flagship for ways to heal and care for our common home.

Our Journey So Far

Beginning in March 2019, a small team of dedicated staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly – even throughout the pandemic –  to transform the space at Wardley Hall into the centre we see today. at the Laudato Si’ Centre we have established educational and wellbeing spaces in the walled gardens, greenhouses, orchard, outdoor classroom and more recently in the adjoining woodland. As well as a partnership to create a memorial woodland. We now have bees living across the hives in the walled garden producing award winning honey, which we sell. Our polytunnels and greenhouse are thriving. We have an outdoor classroom that includes eco-bricks in the walls made by parishioners, all of which are surrounded by an accessible surface to provide equal access for all.

The centre is overseen by Dr Emma Gardner, who joined the Diocese of Salford in 2020 when we became the first diocese to appoint a Head of Environment. Working closely with Bishop John, Emma is leading our diocesan transformation, keeping the principals of Laudato Si’ at the heart of all we do.

One of our main aims of the centre is to reach out to groups that are often excluded from society. Since our inception, we have partnered with the Northern School of Permaculture, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Salford CVS and local community interest companies and charities.  We have been able to offer programmes for people with mental health problems, refugee and asylum seekers, and horticulture therapy for all ages, as well as learning new skills such as learning to survey wildlife and gardening for wildlife, and all this has been achieved in the 0.5 hectare walled garden.

The Laudato Si' Centre is our flagship project to inspire good environmental practice across the diocese

The Next Steps

Our consultations and recently appointed architects have led us on a journey with the designs for our buildings. The design team currently consists of architect, mechanical and engineering consultants, environmental regenerative advisor, structural and drainage consultants, acoustician, landscape architect, ecologist, fire consultant, permaculture consultants and passivhaus certifier who are all working to ensure that not only the buildings within the project are refurbished, conserved and built to the highest environmental sustainability but that the site will work together as a whole to realise transformational change.

It is vitally important that the building we have exhibits the most advanced technical solutions to the ecological crisis but that those solutions are also achievable to our parishes and schools. We are confident that we have the layout and specifications needed to deliver a multi-functional space that will meet the varying demands that will come from school visits, reflection days and community use.

Driven by our vision that The Centre will be a place of practical action, inspired by our faith, rooted in prayer but welcoming and accessible to people of all faiths and none. We believe we can make a difference to the lives of many people and the surrounding communities.

Find out more and support our project

If you would like to discover out more about the Laudato Si’ Centre, find out how you can visit or get involved, hear our latest news or access resources, please visit our website at https://laudatosicentre.org.uk/. You can also keep up to date by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Our vision is to make the Laudato Si’ Centre a flagship for good environmental practice across our diocese and beyond, and to inspire a future of healing and responsible stewardship of God’s creation. However, we can’t do this alone and any support you’re able to give will make a significant impact as we work towards our vision. Please click here to find out more about making a donation. Thank you.