Loyd Grossman visits Bolton to preside over church opening ceremony
A SPACE-age project to transform a disused church into a 21st century community centre was launched yesterday.
Loyd Grossman, chair of the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), took centre stage at the groundbreaking ceremony at All Souls Church in Astley Street.
The church will become a multi-functional venue for people of all religious faiths after the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) pledged £4.2 million to the project.
The CCT has worked with the All Souls Crompton Community Centre over the last six years to make their vision a reality.
The new All Souls will include a conference facility on the first floor, a media suite, and a cafe.
Redevelopment of the church is set to be completed in 2014.
Mr Grossman said: “The local community have been absolutely brilliant and we could not have done this without them.
“They’ve had amazing leadership and the local authorities have been amazingly supportive.
“What’s been so inspiring about this is the way in which so many people have come together to make it work.
“It’s been a very long process to get the money we needed, and we couldn’t have done it without the incredibly enthusiastic participation and skill of the local people. They’ve been brilliant and we’ve learnt a lot from them.” He added: “We want this building to be as important to the new neighbourhood as it was to the old neighbourhood.
“If buildings like this are going to be saved, they’ve got to work for their living — the way this church will work for its living is by making itself a useful inspiring space for the local community.”
Inayat Omarji, chair of the All Souls Crompton Community Centre, said: “It’s a fantastic day. It’s a been a rollercoaster ride over the last seven years but to see it really happening now is a good feeling.
“I can’t say enough about how well the Churches Conservation Trust has done. They have been absolutely crucial in terms of the partnership we’ve created and the support they’ve offered. The community’s been absolutely tremendous in terms of supporting us to make sure that this building retains itself at the heart of Crompton.”
The Mayor of Bolton Cllr Colin Shaw was also at the event, along with Tiffany Hunt, chair of the North West Committee of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
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