Portsmouth church to be transformed after £400,000 lottery boost

An artist's impression of what the tranformation may look like Picture: Diocese of Portsmouth
An artist's impression of what the tranformation may look like Picture: Diocese of Portsmouth
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A PAULSGROVE 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 today awarded £404,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

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 include the construction of three community areas within the church building, to be used for group activities during the week.

Architecture students from the University of Portsmouth were involved in creating the initial designs for the new interior, as part of their Science Without Borders project.

And with an early artist’s impression of the transformation now released, interior design students will also be involved in finalising the plans.

Work at St Michael’s is scheduled to begin in the autumn, after the launch of the events co-operative and a series of open days where residents can have their say on the plans.

It is expected to 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.