Refurbishment for local church

A CLECKHEATON church is set for a £300,000 facelift.

Work will begin on Tuesday to transform the interior of St John the Evangelist Church on Church Street.

Plans to remodel the interior of the church include a smaller worship area and a partition wall stretching from the floor to the ceiling.

The partitioned area will house a two-floor community space, which will include a new main hall, meeting room, kitchen, lobby and toilets, as well as a new entrance lobby with sliding glass panel doors.

The church, which dates back to 1832, is expected to be completed in time for Easter 2013, and the vicar of Cleckheaton, the Rev Brunel James, believes the refurbishment will offer even greater opportunities to interact with the local community.

He said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for the church and the whole of the community in Cleckheaton.

“Even though we are already quite a sociable church, we are hoping to take the engagement with the community to the next level.”

The work has been paid for with several grants from various organisations with links to the church, including Joseph Rank Trust, the Church and Community Fund and the Veolia Environmental Trust.

The Veolia Trust’s executive director, McNabb Laurie, said it was a great opportunity for the future of the church.

“It is great to hear this exciting scheme will start next week,” he said.

“I look forward to seeing the completed work and the new facilities being used and enjoyed by the whole community.”

The project is led by the Parochial Church Council which, after consultation with local people, community groups and the local authority, has received considerable support.

Project manager Roger Pickles said: “This work will provide much-needed facilities for local groups, for people of all ages and backgrounds, and will breathe new life into the church.”

In the meantime the church will hold its services in Church Grange opposite the church at the usual times.