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Dreams revived for £½m church

PLANS to build a £500,000 church in Oswaldtwistle have been revived with the launch of a fund-raising campaign.

PLANS to build a £500,000 church in Oswaldtwistle have been revived with the launch of a fund-raising campaign.

The Melbourne Street Christian Institute, which recently celebrated its 102nd anniversary, has started applying for grants to build a new church on land in Union Road.

The church bought the derelict site, which is close to Oak Street, from Greenall's Brewery in 1997 after raising £75,000 in just six months.

Two years later, planning permission was granted to build a £750,000 three-storey complex there, boasting a main worship area, sports hall, and crèche and counselling facilities, and it was hoped it would be completed by 2001.

But when a number of key church members moved out of the area, the project stalled and the plans were scaled down to create a £500,000 building instead, with seating for 200 and a number of community rooms.

Church member Gill Jeffrey said that they were now making a real effort to obtain funding for the building work. She said: "The project stumbled a bit when some of the people who were in charge at the very beginning left the area. We didn't really have any other people with the skills to immediately grab the baton and run with it. The original plans were also revised as we're just a small church and we weren't sure if we could build something of that magnitude. So we scaled them down with a view to extending them at a later date. We're now filling in application forms for various grants and we've been getting advice. It has just taken time to get it together."

Minister Robin Wilding, who is overseeing the funding applications, said: "We're already a significant way along with money that we've raised in-house and we're now applying to various grant-making trusts. Some of the plans still have to be fine-tuned but we're at the stage now when we can build up momentum."


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