St Austin’s ‘saved’ church centre reopens

St Austins catholic church completes phase 1 of a major refurbishment, and opens up space for a new community centre to be based at the church. Back from left  David Chappell, Paul Blackburn and Irene de Tute. Front from left  Coun Olivia Rowley, Father Timothy Swinglehurst and Barbara Johnson. w314b322
St Austins catholic church completes phase 1 of a major refurbishment, and opens up space for a new community centre to be based at the church. Back from left David Chappell, Paul Blackburn and Irene de Tute. Front from left Coun Olivia Rowley, Father Timothy Swinglehurst and Barbara Johnson. w314b322
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A new community centre has been opened as part of a refurbishment project at a city church.

Improvements to the community centre at St Austin’s Catholic Church include new toilets, a cafe and bar, decorations to a community theatre and damp proofing.

Donations and a £50,000 grant from environmental company Waste Recycling Environmental Limited (Wren )made the refurbishment possible at the church on Wentworth Terrace, Wakefield.

Parish priest Fr Timothy Swinglehurst said church staff feared they would have to close down their community facilities after they fell into disrepair.

He said: “We are extremely grateful to Wren for supporting us on this project. We have all sort of groups who use the building.”

Fr Swinglehurst said many of the facilities were beneath ground level and prone to damp.

He added: “We were going to have to think seriously about the future if we didn’t get this help.”

The new centre was unveiled at an official opening on May 4 by the Mayor of Wakefield Elaine Blezard.

Guests at the event included Coun Olivia Rowley, Coun June Cliffe, from Wren, and Monsignor Michael McQuinn, Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Leeds.

The centre is phase one of a full refurbishment of the Grade II-listed church buildings.

Fr Swinglehurst said further funding was sought to complete the project.

He said: “If we can find enough funding it will be a complete renovation of the rooms, the hall and theatre.”