Church reopens after £260,000 refit

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RESIDENTS in a Sheffield suburb will be able to see for themselves how their local Methodist Church has been transformed into a warm, welcoming and accessible venue for community activities and events.

The church in Handsworth is to be reopened tomorrow by the Reverend Mike Jones who will cut the ribbon at 4pm to officially reopen the building after a £260,000 refit.

The ceremony will be followed by a service of thanksgiving and refreshments.

Rev Jones, who was the minister when the project started, now serves a church in Leicestershire has been invited back specially for the occasion.

Built in the late 1800s, the church has been a popular venue for events and meetings for many years, with it being used for Girls’ and Boys’ Brigade meetings, community groups and a drop-in coffee morning.

But its entrance steps and layout made access hard for elderly people, parents with pushchairs and wheelchair users.

The church worked with members of Handsworth Forum to develop a plan for a radical overhaul.

Work started in November to remodel the building’s interior creating several purpose-built rooms of various sizes.

The front of the building was also being adapted to enable access directly from street level, and a lift installed.

Current Methodist minister Rev Andrew Parker said: “It’s great to see the refurbished building open and available for use by the whole community.

“It has taken us 10 years of fundraising to get here but thanks to the efforts of all those involved, we have created a place where everyone can meet, have fun and receive advice and support in a great environment, whatever the weather.”