Work has started on a major project to transform a Burnley church into a modern, warm and welcoming facility for the community.
The £500,000 scheme to breathe new life into Padiham Road Methodist Church, in Brassey Street, will turn the building into an accessible, well-equipped and flexible facility that everyone can use.
Currently, as well as it being a place of worship, the church, built in 1902, is also a venue for a wide range of community activities. However, the management team hope the community will soon use it for dance classes, slimming clubs, sales, concerts, holiday clubs, a youth club or a lunch club.
Speaking about the start of the revamp, Mr Keith Wightman, church grants co-ordiator, said: “It is so good that work is starting. It has taken a lot of hard work to get here, but it will be well worth it.
“We want to reach the wider community in practical ways, in order to meet people’s social needs, as well as promote the Christian faith. However, our premises were just not suitable, especially for those with disabilities and parents and carers with pushchairs and small children. Therefore, we knew we had to redevelop the site.”
The radical revamp will focus on six key areas which includes levelling the site for all-ability access, reorienting the layout for multi-purpose community use, renewing the heating and lighting to cut bills and improve the building’s carbon footprint, creating a welcoming entrance foyer, installing audio and media systems, plus refurbishing the main roof to current insulation standards.
It is expected that the project will be complete by Easter 2015. Much of the funding is coming from the church’s own reserves. Over the past six years, members of the congregation have raised an amazing £320,000 through activities including sponsored events, “buy a brick” Christmas fairs, and pledged giving.
The Veolia Environmental Trust and The Lancashire Environmental Fund have also awarded grants totalling £60,000 through the Landfill Communities Fund. In addition, funds are also coming from several other sources, including The Methodist Church Connexion, which has awarded £50,000, the North Lancashire Methodist Church, which has awarded £15,000, and the Rank Trust which has awarded £40,000. The Laing Family Trust has also awarded £5,000.