Finishing touches to Wolvercote church’s new look

From left, Rev Dr Mark Butchers and fundraising committee members Val Tate and Peter Bridges

From left, Rev Dr Mark Butchers and fundraising committee members Val Tate and Peter Bridges

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering North Oxford, Jericho and Summertown. Call me on 01865 425498

IT HAS taken four years and more than £700,000.

But members of St Peter’s Church in First Turn, Wolvercote, are finally seeing the light.

The parish has been fundraising since 2009 for extensive building work, and a new set of lights – to be installed this month – will be the final part of the building phases.

The church already has new community rooms, parish office, a refurbishment of the interior church and a glass corridor to link them.

Churchwarden Professor Rodney Eastock Taylor said: “It has been quite an extraordinary fundraising campaign and it is great to see the building work finally getting completed.

“The new hall is very well used and we are now concentrating on the church. The lighting is the final part of our infrastructure works.

“Everyone is really enthusiastic and we have all been very impressed by what a difference it has made.”

The project was kick-started by an extensive parish audit in 2006 and 2007, which found congregation members wanted more community facilities.

In response, the church buildings committee worked with Oxford City Council and the Diocese of Oxford to propose the redevelopment scheme.

Planning permission was granted in 2008 and the first donation of £75,000 made by the church’s memorial fund.

The building work was carried out in four phases. The first two expanded the Old School Room and the community hall.

Phase three linked the hall with the church and phase four involved refurbishing the interior of the main church.

Since the fundraising efforts began, the church has received donations including £30,000 from an anonymous individual, £35,000 from Oxfordshire County Council, £50,000 from Waste Recycling Environmental Limited and £10,000 from the Tolkien Trust.

Prof Eastock Taylor added: “It has taken a lot of work, but people really pulled together to make it happen.”

Rev Dr Mark Butchers said the new facilities now allow the church to run a five-days-a-week playgroup in the mornings, as well as yoga classes, drama classes and a community cafe.

He said: “Our vision was for a thriving community hub and we are well on our way to achieving that.

“We have got off to a very good start.”

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