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Grant boost for Lowestoft family project

PUBLISHED: 14:46 29 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:58 06 July 2010

Rev Mark McCaghrey inside the church hall which he plans to convert

Rev Mark McCaghrey inside the church hall which he plans to convert

Emily Dennis

A ground-breaking project to support families in one of the region's most deprived areas has reached its funding target following a grant boost.

A ground-breaking project to support families in one of the region's most deprived areas has reached its funding target following a grant boost.

The initiative to breathe new life into St Andrews Church in Roman Hill, Lowestoft, will see the place of worship transformed so it can offer a wide range of services and become a community hub for locals.

In April the church celebrated a £437,316 windfall from the Big Lottery Fund and now it has received news of a further £50,000 grant from recycling group WREN.

Through the Access All Areas project St Andrew's will become one of the first churches in Waveney and Norfolk to extend its use.

The project means a new chapter for the building after more than 100 years of active church involvement.

Numerous activities including sessions for parents and children, as well as drug support services, already happen in the building.

By the time the project has been completed there will be two halls, a community café, meeting rooms and new activities for people of all ages.

The Rev Mark McCaghrey, the vicar at St Andrew's, said: “Although we had raised most of the funding to start work, we had to complete the fundraising before the Lottery grant is finalised - with this fantastic grant offered by WREN, we are now at our target.

“We have so many grant providers we must thank - especially Lowestoft Together who first showed confidence in the project. The expansion to the hall is essential as we are bursting from our seams. We have also just heard that our faculty application has been approved, so it's all systems go.”

Supporters of the church are no strangers to undertaking big changes, with the last one being the creation of a garden behind the hall, which started off as a small soil removal, and turned into a £60,000 engineering project. This resulted in an award-winning garden, which will offer space for those using the new coffee shop too.

Sarah Gosling, WREN project manager, said: “Projects applying for grants from WREN are assessed by an individual panel of locally based experts in each county for their need, community benefit and support, sustainability and value for money. The project at St Andrews also demonstrated an amazing level of benefits to the community.”

Organisations and community groups requiring funding for community projects should visit www.wren.org.uk to assess their eligibility before submitting an application.

t WREN is a not-for-profit business which helps people living near landfill sites with grants for community projects.

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