More than 200 people watched the Bishop of Chester officially open a £1.5m church hall and community hub in Handbridge .
Also present at the launch of St Mary’s Handbridge Centre were Chester MP Chris Matheson , ward councillor Razia Daniels and Rupert Collis from Eaton Estate along with other individuals and organisations who have supported the project.
The centre, which was opened on Sunday (June 10) by Bishop of Chester Right Rev Dr Peter Forster , replaces the old church hall.
It is more than twice the size of the former building and will serve as the long-awaited community facility for Handbridge and wider Chester area.
St Mary’s is ‘extremely grateful’ to organisations and individuals who have contributed to fundraising and to those who have worked tirelessly over the past three years to see this project become a reality.
Comprising a large hall, two community rooms, a small meeting room, and an outdoor seating area, the centre will be available for hire.
Facilities include a fully equipped kitchen, a refreshment and social area, disability access, a secure pre-school play area, and full state-of-the-art projection technology. There is a 32-space car park.
Rev Paul Dawson, of St Mary’s-Without-the-Walls Church, said: “We are delighted because this has been a vision long waited for and shared with a great number of people. It’s been supported very generously by people from within the church and the local community.”
He said the old church hall was ‘falling to bits’ having been built in the 1960s and was an inflexible space with a single hall and limited facilities.
Talking about the new centre, Rev Dawson said: “It will provide resources and activities for a whole range of groups because one of the things with the old hall was we were always saying ‘Sorry, we haven’t got any space’.”
He added: “What’s interesting now is the number of people just walking through the door to see what use they can make of the facilities. I imagine before very long it will be pretty much in constant use.”
The centre will be available for hire and use from July onwards.
To book a room or for further information please contact parish administrator Doris Keen in the parish office: email@example.com or call 01244 671202.