Burnley church unveils £44,000 facelift

Sion Baptist Church official re-opening of Community Hall after refurbishment. 'Pictured are church members with oldest member Clifford Hitchcock (86), his grandson PJ Hitchcock (15), the youngest member with the Rev. Andy Williams and Rachel Tattersall (left) and Sarah Nutter (right)

Sion Baptist Church official re-opening of Community Hall after refurbishment. 'Pictured are church members with oldest member Clifford Hitchcock (86), his grandson PJ Hitchcock (15), the youngest member with the Rev. Andy Williams and Rachel Tattersall (left) and Sarah Nutter (right)

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Sion Baptist Church opened its doors again after a £44,000 revamp of its community hall.

There was an official opening ceremony with short demonstrations by community and church groups that use the hall, including the new Contempo Community Choir, Line Dancers, Burnley Dance Centre, Sion Pantomime Society and Young at Heart.

It is fantastic to see the work complete. The refurbished community hall is now an excellent, centrally located facility for the community for performances, dancing, exercise classes, large meetings and conferences

There was also coffee and cake at hand as the public got their first view of the new large windows, the renovated parquet floor and new fitted curtains to the stage and windows.

A new lift has also been added to provide full access for people with disabilities and the heating system has been upgraded. Parts of the roof have been repaired, some of the walls re-pointed and the building’s interior has been redecorated.

Funds for the work came from The Veolia Environmental Trust, who awarded £25,000 through the Landfill Communities Fund, the Bernard Sunley Foundation, which pledged £2,500, the Rank Foundation, which gave £1,000, and Burnley Rotary, who donated £500.

The church also provided funding and Sion Pantomime Society contributed over £5,000. The congregation also fundraised over £8,000 through a wide range of activities including choir concerts, a garden party, a sponsored run and a Christmas meal.

Gifts were also received from groups that meet in the church, including the Visually Impaired Group and Age UK Line Dancing Group, who raised more than £1,500 through their raffle.

The Reverend Andy Williams said: “It is fantastic to see the work complete. The refurbished community hall is now an excellent, centrally located facility for the community for performances, dancing, exercise classes, large meetings and conferences.

“The improvements mean that more people with disabilities, including wheelchair users, can use the community hall.”

The building is also used throughout the week by a number of other organisations including the New Era Nursery, Burnley Dance Centre, Tae-bo, Burnley Camera Club, Grassroots and Arts on Prescription.

The Executive Director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, Paul Taylor, added: “Community halls play a vital role in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.”