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Pycombe church extension work begins
Work is to start on an extension project at a church which receives tens of thousands of visitors each year.
The £138,000 upgrade at the Church of the Transfiguration in Pyecombe, near Henfield, will include a kitchen, storage facilities and accessible toilet.
It has been supported by a £20,000 grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust, through the Landfill Communities Fund.
A trust spokesman said: “The provision of such facilities is not a luxury, but a necessity.
“The church, which will be open during the day, is located on the busiest section of the South Downs Way and receives tens of thousands of passing visitors throughout the year to whom these new facilities will be available.
“Not only that, it is the only community building serving a population of over 200.
“In addition to services, it is used as a venue for village meetings and events, such as the annual flower festival and parish weekend.”
The church raised the majority of the funds via its own fundraising activities which included individual donations, concerts, sponsored activities, and raffles.
It was further supported by the Sustainable Communities Fund, which donated £20,000.
The church needs to raise £30,000 towards the kitchen facilities and to equip the inside, although the shortfall will not stop the work from starting.
Reverend Caroline Currer, Priest-in-Charge, said: “It is great that work is starting. The church is the only public meeting place available in the village.
“We believe the extension and its facilities will encourage the start-up of smaller local social groups, such as coffee mornings and informal group meetings.
“In addition, the toilet facilities will encourage greater links with the many hundreds of charities and groups who organise sponsored walks, bike rides and the challenges along the South Downs Way.”
The church is a Grade-1 listed building dating from 1170. The extension has been sympathetically designed to complement the existing architecture.
A turf cutting ceremony took place on March 5.
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