A dad who is passionate about sport for the disabled has ploughed his retirement money into turning a disused church into a sports and community centre.
Colin Grundy, hopes St Joseph’s Church, on Santingley Lane in Crofton, will become the hub of local life when it re-opens next week.
The 63-year-old former biochemist was inspired to buy the Roman Catholic church, which closed in 2008, so that the sports club his son Gareth is a member of, could have a place to call home.
Able2, which is currently based at Featherstone Sports Centre, will use the church for some of its smaller sports like table tennis and boccia, and when it’s not in use by them, Mr Grundy hopes the community will make use of the building.
He said: “The building’s running costs are low because the refurbishment has seen lots of energy saving features fitted like wood pellet heating.
“I will be able to lease the church to the club and community for a very reasonable price, and the money will help pay for its upkeep and pay for club events and things.”
As well as putting £100,000 of his own money into the project, Mr Grundy received grants from the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All scheme and charity WREN.
He added: “We couldn’t have done it without the grants.
“I want to be as flexible as possible with the local community, and I am open to ideas with regard to what they want to use the church for.”
Ideas put forward so far include coffee mornings, whist drives and meetings.
Mr Grundy and his wife are both on the committee of Able2 , which will continue to use Featherstone Sports Centre for sports such as wheelchair basketball and athletics.
Mr Grundy said he is looking forward to the ‘big reveal’ which will take place on Bank Holiday Monday from 10am until 4pm.
He said: “No one has really seen it because I wanted to reveal it in all its glory.”
Anyone is welcome to go along to the open day, including community groups who might want to use it.
Crofton councillor Maureen Cummings wished the project well.
She said: “It’s a project that has been at least two years in the making, but Mr Grundy has persevered and I really hope the community gets behind him on this one. It’s a great scheme.”
Call 07970541239 for information .