AN extensive restoration has been planned for a Grade II-listed church in an effort to make it into a community hub.

St James' Church in Daisy Hill has been the focal point of the village since it was built about 140 years ago.

But the congregation has had to fund several repairs to the building over the last 20 or 30 years, including work to replace lead that was stolen from the roof.

And now the community is trying to raise money to restore the church.

Work would include the bell turret, path and the roof, which are in "desperate" need of repair.

Brian Palin is part of the church's building group and said the full cost of the work could be about £300,000.

He said: “We are going to apply for a grant. The building has been in a bad state for years.

“It is getting to the stage where it needs some major work doing to get it back to a state where it can last for the next 100 years.

“The church is the focal point of the village. We have no other community place in the village where people can meet up.

“Daisy Hill itself is getting larger with more properties being build. We are trying to open the church more.”

In order to make it more of a hub for the community, the church has begun opening its doors on Saturdays.

The church has also recently had a toilet installed — an idea that was first voiced decades ago.

It is hoped that £5,000 can be raised via donations made from the community.

Mr Palin said: “We are getting to a stage where we think we can get a grant and get the building back into a good shape.

“We want to promote ourselves in the community as a place where people can go and be open most days of the week if we can.”

Rev Kirsty Screeton, church curate, said: "The church was built as a community building and the congregation wants to reintegrate it into the community as much as they can.

"I think it is very important and we want to encourage people to use the building as a community base."

Anyone who wants to donate can do so by going to