In September 2018 Hope Church purchased the former Odeon cinema in the centre of Ipswich. The 5-screen cinema, built in the early 90s, is an iconic building in the town and has stood empty since 2005. We have plans to transform it into the Hope Centre, giving considerable room for us to grow as a church community and to grow the many and varied ministries that are serving our town.


Here are some answers to questions that you may have:

We are aiming to make a full move from the Orwell Centre to the Hope Centre in 2020. Some further refurbishment may still take place in the years to come after we've moved in order to make the centre an excellent community hub. 
The centre will accommodate the following features.
  • A 700-seater auditorium.
  • A smaller 175 seater auditorium which would function as a multi-use room. 
  • Several smaller multi-use rooms. 
  • Multiple offices for Hope Church staff and others.
  • A cafe open to the general public. 
You can check out the proposed floor plans for the redevelopment below.
As a church we are giving into "Journey Offerings" twice a year. We had a big offering in September 2019 and our next one will be in March 2020. We would welcome investment in this in advance of March - please do so via our giving page and reference Journey Offering in your online gift. If you wish to make a no-interest loan, please contact us at the nearest opportunity. We are also seeking to raise significant funds through the sale of our current premises on Fore Hamlet as well as through grant funding. 
Regular updates, photos and news will appear on this page. Why not bookmark this page and follow us on Twitter for alerts and news.
Please do join us in prayer for this project - for God's wisdom, provision & protection throughout! This is more than just a building project; it's an opportunity to love & serve our town, make more room at the table and make Jesus famous in Ipswich and the nations. If you would like more specific and regular prayer points, you can sign up here to receive these via email.

The Plans

Swipe through the plans below to see what the final layout of the building will be like. 


WhatsApp Image 2020-02-25 at 13.05.06


In 1991, Orwell Christian Fellowship (later to become known as Hope Church) moved out from a house in Ipswich and into Copleston High School. This was a massive step of faith at the time, trusting that God would not only meet the resulting financial implications, but also all the organisational and pastoral commitments that came with opening the doors to Ipswich on a much larger scale. Little did they know that when they took that step of faith, God was lining up something much bigger… something that, at the time, would have blown their minds. That same year, in 1991, a 33,000 square-foot, 5 screen cinema was built right in the middle of Ipswich, and twenty-nine years later, that building would become the home of Hope Church. What a God we serve! He has infinite resources and He loves it when we grow and step out in faith – I wonder what He’s doing now in preparation for what’s in store in 30 years from now.

Welcome to the blog for the redevelopment of the former Odeon cinema; ‘The Hope Centre’. My name is Matt Cornish, I am managing the project and I intend to regularly update with developments, news, photos and prayer points as we progress. It’s going to be an exciting year as the building starts to transform into a space which God will use for His Church, His Kingdom’s advance, serving the town and where Jesus’ name will be made famous here in Ipswich and in the Nations. Click here if you would like to know more about who Hope Church are and our vision and values.


At the last time of writing, the floor had been raised in the office and had almost been completed in the Auditorium, the stage (which has a storeroom underneath it) was well underway, duct work had been re-routed to enable the flooring to go over it and the works to raise the fire exit roof had begun. Since then, we have really started to make traction and, as you’ll see below, the progress has been quite exciting.

Before completing the floor-levelling in the Auditorium, the baptism pool was raised up to floor height on a concrete platform and encased in a wooden frame. The flooring was then continued and built around it. As you can see from the photos it looks great! The lids, which also make up the floor, arrive tomorrow. The last thing to do for the baptism pool is to plumb it in so it can be filled and drained.

WhatsApp Image 2020-07-27 at 14.24.27
WhatsApp Image 2020-07-27 at 15.26.12

We have had a lot of deliveries of plasterboard and metal studs for all over the building. Multiple lorries have arrived, followed by big efforts to unload them and position materials around the building. In the Auditorium, there is a specialist ‘perforated’ plasterboard for the walls as part of the acoustic design of the room. The perforation allows some sound to travel through the wall to help with absorption and therefore aid with noise reduction. On the side of the rooms, these have been installed in a ‘wave’ fashion to ensure that sound is dispersed in multiple directions, rather than the hard bounce of a flat wall. This will result in much better acoustics throughout the room. Whilst the reason for the design is purely for sound purposes, I personally think it looks great and gives a real texture to the space.

WhatsApp Image 2020-07-27 at 12.25.00
WhatsApp Image 2020-07-27 at 12.25.01 (1)
WhatsApp Image 2020-07-27 at 14.34.46
WhatsApp Image 2020-07-27 at 12.24.58 (1)

The basic frame of the stage has been in place for some time now; taking advantage of the void below to create a room underneath. However, since the flooring has been finished, the stage is now being completed by bringing it forward, adding steps and sections for inbuilt speakers.

WhatsApp Image 2020-07-27 at 12.24.56
WhatsApp Image 2020-07-27 at 17.25.15

Due to the floor being raised at the front of the auditorium by around a metre, the previous fire exit needed significant alteration. The fire exit had it’s own flat roof which was subsequently too low and therefore we needed to raise it up by adding more blockwork and a new roof. Once the new roof was in place, the previous roof was removed below to open up the new fire exit. Stairs to meet the raised floor are currently being fabricated and will be installed next week.

Exit Photos
WhatsApp Image 2020-07-27 at 12.25.03 (1)
WhatsApp Image 2020-07-27 at 12.25.02
WhatsApp Image 2020-07-27 at 14.44.14 (1)
WhatsApp Image 2020-07-27 at 14.58.47

Meanwhile downstairs, in what will be Children and Youth rooms on Sundays, the screens are being divided up into new rooms and corridors using stud partitions. Openings are being created and filled in, as appropriate, in exiting walls as the new layout is being created. There are also storage spaces being formed, including under the stairs, to maximise the space that we have. These walls have been going up at incredible speeds and it won’t be long until the majority of the new layout of the building will be in place.

Whilst all of this is going on, the first fixes for the electrics and fire alarm system are being installed – which basically involves running cables throughout the whole building and clipping them in place so all the electrical points, services, lighting, sensors and alarms will have necessary supplies when it comes to the point of installation.

WhatsApp Image 2020-07-27 at 12.24.56 (1)
WhatsApp Image 2020-07-27 at 12.24.59
WhatsApp Image 2020-07-27 at 12.24.57
WhatsApp Image 2020-07-27 at 15.08.47


In the next few weeks, the current works described above will be heading towards completion. More walls will continue to go up in accordance with the plans and the layout of the building will be pretty much there, the stage and fire exit extension should be completed, more electrical wiring will be in place. Once the layout is complete, we will look to do a video tour to show the new layout of the building so do look out for that!

Please do continue to pray for the project; for God’s timings and resources, provision and wisdom. For more specific prayer points, you can sign up to the email prayer list by clicking here .

This project is predominantly financed by the generous giving by many at Hope Church any beyond. We have seen God’s faithfulness in abundance so far in this project but there is much more to come. If you would like to give into the Hope Centre project, you can do so by clicking here. Alternatively, if you would like more information please email office@hopeipswich.co.uk.



TImeline (Wrong Dates)