Centre celebrates £167,000 revamp

St Elisabeth's Church and Community Centre
St Elisabeth's Church and Community Centre

A CHURCH and community centre will celebrate the end of a £167,000 revamp next weekend.

St Elisabeth’s Church and Centre for Community in Victoria Drive will welcome Eastbourne mayor Carolyn Heaps to the launch on March 17, as it marks the completion of costly improvements to its access.

The £167,000 project began in August last year and has created a new step-free entrance to the hall and foyer and installed a lift to provide disabled access throughout the building.

The lift provides members of the community, who have difficulty using the steep 1930s art deco stairs, access to community rooms and a new mini conference-suite located on the building’s two upper floors.

The Grade II listed community building is a popular venue for meetings, events and activities, and also houses the parish church.

The main hall was refurbished in 2004 and is used for church services, a parent and toddler group, a lunch club, the local Gilbert & Sullivan Society and art groups as well as many church and charitable events.

Offices, new toilets for disabled visitors and the HQ for a charity for older people, are now housed on the first floor, where previously the fire exit was the only step-free entrance.

And it is hoped that the recent improvements will increase the use of the building further, as all the rooms are now easily accessible by the whole community.

Funding for the work has come from several sources, including a string of fundraising events and donations from church members, as well as grants from the Garfield Weston Trust, Rank Trust, Laing Family Trust, Everyclick, and Dell Computers.

The Veolia Environmental Trust also awarded a grant of £48,300 through the Landfill Communities Fund and the church hierarchy was given help in applying for funds by Maureen Anstey of Eastbourne Association of Voluntary Services, now 3VA.

Vicar at St Elisabeth’s Church, Reverend David Gillard, said, “I am really excited how our new entrance and lift will enhance the facilities we can offer local people. Many people have been involved in this project and I am very grateful for each person and organisation’s contribution in making it a success.”