£400,000 windfall to transform city church

Ar artist's impression of the transformed interior of 'St Michael's Church in Paulsgrove
Ar artist's impression of the transformed interior of 'St Michael's Church in Paulsgrove
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A CHURCH is set to undergo a dramatic transformation after sealing hundreds of thousands of pounds in lottery cash.

St Michael’s Church in Paulsgrove was awarded £404,000 from the Big Lottery Fund yesterday.

St Michael's Church in Paulsgrove

St Michael's Church in Paulsgrove

The boost will enable the church to carry out renovations to its existing building, in a bid to make it an attractive venue for wedding receptions, parties and community activities.

It comes after about 500 residents took part in the church’s three-year Proud to be Paulsgrove campaign, highlighting their desire to see more community facilities in the local area.

Vicar of the Hempsted Road church, the Rev Ian Newton, who led the bid, said: ‘We’re truly delighted to be receiving this fantastic award.

‘At St Michael’s we have been working hard to engage with local people and families. Children and celebration have been recurring themes in our shared conversations.

‘With the support that has been generously offered to us we are looking forward to working with as many people as possible to make our shared vision a reality, as we seek to renew St Michael’s for the 21st century.’

The £460,000 project at St Michael’s – which includes about £50,000 invested by the church itself and the Council for Social Responsibility – will include the creation of a community events co-operative, to lead fixtures held at the church.

It will also bring the construction of three new group activity areas within the church building.

Architecture students from the University of Portsmouth were involved in creating the initial designs for the new interior, and interior design students will play a role in finalising the plans.

Work at St Michael’s is scheduled to begin in the autumn and be completed in 2019 – when the church will pursue its goal of welcoming more than 1,000 local people, 100 volunteers and 10 new community groups in the building’s first year.