Church new look

Work on the west end of St Giles church, Pontefract, has been completed. The new cafe inside the old church.'p307b243
Work on the west end of St Giles church, Pontefract, has been completed. The new cafe inside the old church.'p307b243
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A £360,000 scheme to modernise part of St Giles’ Church in Pontefract has been completed.

The year-long project has seen the creation of a new reception area, community cafe, kitchen, toilets and meeting rooms on two floors, with a new stairway and lift.

The town centre church remained open during the work to its west end, with the relocation of the north door providing an alternative entrance for worshippers, and visitors to its job club and twice-weekly coffee mornings.

Vicar Rev Bob Cooper said: “It was very important to us that the church should remain open to the public and for public worship throughout the works.

“I have been overwhelmed and heartened by the very positive response there has been from the congregation and other users of the building, who have readily adapted to the way we have had to do things while the building works have been taking place.”

The work, which started last October, has also seen a new Yorkstone floor laid – complete with underfloor heating – to provide a level surface throughout the west end of the church, while a 19th century window was also relocated as part of the refurbishment.

Bill Bradley, chairman of the church building group, said: “The church is now fully suitable for use as a community hub for the town centre.”

Grants from bodies including the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, WREN, Biffaward, Garfield Weston Foundation, the Barbara Taylor Trust, UK Coal, Wakefield Council’s community chest, the Bishop’s Development Trust and the Allchurches Trust helped fund the work, along with donations and fundraising from the congregation.

Further work to extend the Yorkstone floor and heating is currently taking place and is due to be complete by next Easter, although work will be suspended during December for Christmas services.