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Sheffield church agrees war memorial hall sale to fund £1.5m expansion

Reverend Nick Dawson outside the Parish Church of Saint John the Baptist in Owlerton, Sheffield, which is set for a 1.5m expansion
Reverend Nick Dawson outside the Parish Church of Saint John the Baptist in Owlerton, Sheffield, which is set for a 1.5m expansion
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A church in Sheffield is pushing ahead with £1.5 million plans to double in capacity after agreeing the sale of its war memorial hall.

The Parish Church of Saint John the Baptist Owlerton says it has outgrown its Victorian home on Penistone Road, near Owlerton Stadium, which is often full to bursting for services and is too small to host the many community services it runs.

The Owlerton Church War Memorial Hall on Forbes Road, in Hillsborough (photo: Mark Jenkinson & Son)

The Owlerton Church War Memorial Hall on Forbes Road, in Hillsborough (photo: Mark Jenkinson & Son)

That's why it is selling the Owlerton Church War Memorial Hall, located more than half a kilometre away on Forbes Road, in Hillsborough, to help fund a major expansion.

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St John's has agreed a price for the Grade II-listed hall with another church, which it declined to name at this stage, and the purchase is being finalised.

It plans to put the proceeds towards an extension, costing an estimated £1m-£1.5m, which it says would double the church's capacity and make it a community hub, open seven days a week for various activities.

Reverend Nick Dawson, the vicar at St John's, said: "As a church we've completely run out of space. Our congregation has grown and we're rammed full on Sundays. We've even had to put a Portakabin up to make space for all the activities we run.

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"Building a big modern extension will double the size of the church, enabling us to open throughout the week and become a real community hub, with a cafe and space to have lots of different groups running at the same time.

"The hall isn't much use to us, being so far from the church, which is why we decided to sell it to raise money for the extension.

"It means we can invest in one building rather than trying to invest in two, neither of which in its current state is fit for purpose.

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"Now we've agreed the sale, for above the £300,000 asking price, we're hitting the pedal and really stepping up momentum on the project."

The church says detailed plans for the extension are being drawn up and it is confident it will be able to raise the remaining money required.

The church already provides numerous community services, ranging from parent and baby sessions to English lessons. It also does outreach work with underprivileged people living on the Winn Gardens estate in Middlewood.