Village raises £275k to rescue old chapel

Friends of Horspath chairwoman Sheila Frankum, front right, celebrates the sale with villagers

Friends of Horspath chairwoman Sheila Frankum, front right, celebrates the sale with villagers Buy this photo

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by

A RESIDENTS group has managed to buy Horspath Chapel after rallying a year ago to save the historic building from developers.

The former village chapel, in Oxford Road, was sold to the charity Friends of Horspath on Friday for just over £275,000.

Plans for the building include the return of Horspath’s post office which shut down two years ago.

A cafe, youth club for people with learning disabilities, lunch clubs, cookery classes, and yoga classes could also be based at the chapel from March 1.

An official opening is to be held in April.

Friends of Horspath chairwoman Sheila Frankum said: “We are absolutely delighted. It is exciting but frightening to take on something like this.

“We want to open it up to Horspath to make it a community hub to bring the community together. “ The Methodists put the chapel up for sale in 2012 after numbers in the congregation dipped.

Methodists have been based in Horspath since 1829. Their first chapel was built in 1871, which was replaced by the present building in 1910.

In January last year the Friends group rallied to save the chapel for the community and was registered as a charity.

Mrs Frankum added they faced competition from developers who wanted to turn the chapel into a four-bedroom home.

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The building has an entrance hall, main hall, small meeting room, kitchen, toilets and a garden.

The charity was given six months to raise the money to buy the chapel in a sealed bid process which started on August 23 last year.

The Rev Martin Wellings, superintendent minister of the Oxford Methodist Circuit, said: “We are delighted that the chapel has been sold to the Friends of Horspath.

“We wish them well in continuing to use the building to benefit the local community.”

The money was raised through a grant from South Oxfordshire District Council, donations and fundraising events like a charity ironing session which raised £200 in July.

Furniture, including chairs and tables, needs to be bought before the chapel opens on March 1.

It can be booked for events from March.

For more details, email community.hub@horspath.org.uk.

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