Duke of Portland gifted land for church and hall

Rev Mary Essex outside St John's Church Hall which she hopes will be restored
Rev Mary Essex outside St John's Church Hall which she hopes will be restored

A KIrkby Woodhouse church has launched a campaign to transform its church hall into a modern facility that will serve the community.

The Revd Helen Essex, vicar of St. John the Evangelist’s Church, on Skegby Road, said the hall needs a ‘total rethink’ as well as a ‘total refurbishment.’

She said: “There isn’t anywhere else like it. It’s a large central place on a bus route that people know really well. There’s a very positive feeling about the hall.

“People are often looking for a venue for small or large activity. The hall needs a lot of work. It needs a new heating system, redecorating throughout and the refurbishment of the kitchen.

2We would also like to be able to divide up some of the larger rooms. We also need to adapt the toilets to make them accessible for disabled people.”

The campaign is in its early stages and the church council has applied for funding to pay an architect to help them consider how the building could be reconfigured. The council is now waiting from an estimate from the architect about the potential cost. The ‘very large space’ features a stage, a kitchen and various meeting rooms.

The building is used on Thursday afternoons by a food bank, set up with the help of the Ashfield Volunteer Action group and feeds between 30 and 50 people a week.

It also hosts a social inclusion project where people can get advice about accessing benefits to which they are entitled, and a representative from SPIC UK (Supporting Parents In Crisis). Two rooms are also currently used by the county library service.