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Church in Bootle finally gets the go-ahead

21 February 2014

by Kenny Parker

THE long wait is finally over for a Merseyside congregation who have been looking for a new building to worship in since their own building was demolished in 2010.

Plans had been drawn up for St John and St James, Bootle, to have a new building on the site of an abandoned car showroom, as part of a regeneration project, but when the present Government came to power, the funding was withdrawn.

The purchase of the United Reformed St Stephen's (below), near by, was completed earlier this month, however, and plans have been submitted to Sefton Council for a refit.

The Priest-in-Charge, the Revd Claire Dawson, said: "The church buildings came down in May 2010, and at the time we'd been promised the site on Linacre Lane. This was a partnership with Sefton Council and Housing Market Renewal.

"Just before we were about to sign contracts in August, we had the change of government, and all the funding cuts came, and the whole scheme just went to the wall.

"We've been very fortunate in that organisations in the community have welcomed us into their buildings; so we've been borrowing homes wherever we can. Particularly, Springwell Park School has been really helpful in letting us meet there."

Besides giving their new building a facelift, and adding a foyer, the PCC hopes to install new kitchens and lavatories, and refurbish the hall. The cost of the purchase of the building and the modernisation is about £500,000.

The sale of the land from the old church, with contributions from the congregation, have raised £450,000. That means that the PCC needs £50,000 in grants to bridge the gap, Ms Dawson said.

Local organisations are now being sought to form partnerships. "We are trying to gather together people who have an interest in the local community, and have a say in it," Ms Dawson said. "It's setting out a canvas for people to help us fill in."

The congregation will continue to meet at Springwell Park School, but will worship every fourth Sunday at Bailey Drive until they are able to move in permanently.

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