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South Oxford church gets close to revamp dream
COMMUNITY groups who use a South Oxford church are celebrating after a major grant brought them closer to a £500,000 revamp.
Following a £75,000 grant this week from environmental body Wren, a total of £430,000 has now been raised towards the total needed to renovate St Luke’s Church, in Canning Crescent.
Vicar the Rev Jane Sherwood said the project would now definitely go ahead, and she expected construction work to begin early next year.
She said: “This is fantastic news and we are now only about £70,000 away from our target.
“The tenders for the contract will come back in early July for the extension and the renewal of the existing building.
“We will be taking everything out apart from the timber frame and the foundations.
“The building functions as a community centre as well as a church and is used almost every day of the week by children’s groups and mums and toddler groups, as well as for arts events.
“This is a very well-used public space and we think the renovation is vital for the local area.
“The idea for this project started about seven years ago so I’m very pleased that we have got to the point where we can look forward to building work starting. With one more major grant we will hit our fundraising grant.”
St Luke’s launched the drive to redevelop the building two years ago.
It started out as a wooden ‘kit’ church in the 1930s and very little work has been carried out since.
The building is leased from Oxford City Council. City councillors approved the church’s refurbishment plans in 2010 and fundraising has continued since then.
The main hall of the church is being kept, but a new smaller side hall is being added, to include new office and storage space and kitchen and bathroom facilities.
A fete will take place at the church on Sunday, July 15, from 3pm to 6pm to celebrate the money that has been raised so far.
Ms Sherwood added: “We will call the fete Pigs Can Fly to celebrate how far we’ve come towards realising the dream.
“We will have a hog roast, a band of school boy singers, mini Olympics, and other stalls.”
The vicar said construction work would take about six months to complete.
There is now just £73,000 left to find.
Funding raised so far includes £273,000 in grants and £102,000 in donations.