A MANSFIELD church’s mammoth challenge to raise £1.5m for a new building is being given a push by two well-known members of the community.
Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Romek Kordecki and Neighbourhood Warden Andy Gwynn will patrol on bicycles throughout next month to raise cash for Chesterfield Road South’s Methodist Church.
The pair aim to cycle up to 1,000 miles during June, collecting cash as they do their rounds on two wheels through Broomhill, Ladybrook and the town centre.
All the money raised will go towards the Phoenix Project, a fundraising campaign to build a new joint church and community centre to replace the existing Methodist Church.
PCSO Kordecki said: “The existing church is well used by the community for everything from luncheon clubs to youth clubs, Brownies, and mother and toddler groups.
“It is also a place where local police have been welcomed to hold community meetings and surgeries.
“But the building is small and has limited, poor facilities and is unable to meet the needs of a growing community.”
The new building will be much larger and will include modern sports facilities and a new volunteer-run cafe.
Rev Barbara Greenwood says she is delighted the pair have come up with the idea.
“They came to us on their own initiative and we are very grateful to them and their bosses for giving them permission,” she said.
“We are moving forward with the project but there is a long way to go. Most of the funding will come from the council but it depends on various development schemes in the area.
“The new centre will make a huge difference to the community and will be used by many residents, not just church members.”
The cycle challenge is welcome news for Rev Greenwood just a week after the existing building was damaged by a fire which spread from a bin - an incident now being investigated by police.
PCSO Kordecki and Mr Gwynn have been helped out by Carl Edwards, owner of the On Yer Bike store in Mansfield Woodhouse, who has donated computers to fix to their bikes to monitor the number of miles covered.
Anyone who would like to support the campaign can either give the money directly to the pair on their patrols, or hand it in to Mansfield Woodhouse Police Station.
People can also donate by visiting www.phoenixproject.co.uk and clicking on the ‘JustGiving’ button.