A £155,000 project to transform a Leyland church hall into a new community facility is now underway – after a 20-year wait.
Work started last week at the Leyland Baptist Church on Leyland Lane, which will help develop a food bank and a debt counselling service, as well as allowing disabled groups to start using the hall.
The hall was built in 1975 and for the last 20 years, the members of the church have been seeking to make this major refurbishment happen.
The lack of a disabled toilet and wheelchair width corridors, along with the poor kitchen facilities, have caused hall user numbers drop, threatening its long-term future.
Now though, a new entrance lobby by the hall’s car park, new toilets, including one for disabled users, a wet room, and a new kitchen are being created under the scheme.
The reverend at the church, Tony Crawford, said: “The hall was once a hub for community life and this work will seek to make it a centre for community life once more and for many years to come.
“It will be a great venue for current users and we anticipate it will attract many new ones.
“Services we would like to see set up include a food bank and a debt counselling service.
“It is great that work has started and we look forward to seeing the work complete.”
When it started to develop the plans for this scheme, the church’s close relationship with The Leyland Project, which the members first set up, helped the process of consulting local residents and organisations.
The Progress Housing Group, the Children’s Centre, the police, and councils have all expressed their support for the project to create more quality community facilities.
Funding for the work is coming from the church members, The Lancashire Environmental Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Congregational Trust, the All Churches Trust and The Veolia Environmental Trust, which has awarded £25,000 through the Landfill Communities Fund.
The executive director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, McNabb Laurie, added: “It is great to hear that this important project is starting and I look forward to seeing the completed improvements.”