WORK to rebuild St Andrew’s Church Hall which was destroyed in an arson attack is underway and on target.
Flames ripped through the building in Seaside Road in May 2010, leaving community groups and the Rising Stars Pre-school without a meeting place.
The church congregation and the community groups were devastated to have lost their hall, but fundraising started and now work is under way for a better community facility at the site behind the Arlington Arms in Seaside.
Father David King, vicar of St Andrew’s Church, said, “The building work is going well and it should be completed by the end of March or beginning of April next year.
“I don’t want to make any promises because you never know what might happen, but we are not anticipating any problems and the groups should be able to move back in for the summer.”
Father David and the other members of the church are hoping as many groups as possible come back to the church hall for their meetings.
The hall will also cater for other groups as it will be available for private hire.
Rising Stars Pre-School, which lost all its equipment in the fire, has confirmed it will be returning to St Andrew’s Church Hall when it is ready.
Father David added, “It is very exciting and very appropriate because next year is our centenary year. We will be having a number of celebrations in 2012 so it is really exciting that we will be able to enjoy those events in the new hall.”
Father David said it had been difficult for the community groups and the church congregation without the hall.
“We have not had anywhere to hold our fundraisers so we are looking forward to the completion,” said Father David.
The insurance money covers most of the building costs but additional funds are still needed for landscaping and a fitted kitchen.
Any donations towards the new hall can be handed in or posted to the Vicarage, 425 Seaside, next to St Andrew’s Church.
Rising Stars has also been fundraising since the fire to replace its equipment. The pre-school is holding a quiz night tonight (December 2) at the Arlington Arms, Seaside. The event starts at 7.30pm cost £3 per person. There is a maximum team size of six people.
A raffle with a £50 cash prize will also be on offer.