Church closes in on £700k target

PARISHIONERS in Faringdon are hoping to raise the last £100,000 needed for a £700,000 expansion of their church. All Saints Church dates back to the early 12th century.

The extension is intended to give it facilities fit for the 21st.

Residents need to find another £100,000 to build the hall alongside the Grade I listed Church Street building.

The project is being primarily funded through a £400,000 legacy left by local resident Louise Mary Barber. The Barber Rooms will also include a kitchen and toilets.

Curate the Rev Simon Wearn said the idea to build an extension first came up about two years ago, as there was no room to hold extra activities.

He said: “Unlike a lot of churches our size, we don’t have a church hall and that limits us. It’s really trying to enhance the facility of the church and serve the community.”

Mr Wearn said that members of the 170-strong congregation had already pledged and raised a total of £200,000 towards the work.

The church secured planning permission and listed building consent for the scheme from Vale of White Horse District Council last Monday.

Project manager Jon Chamberlain said: “It is because the number of people is increasing in Faringdon that we need more room.

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“The church has been extended and altered since about 1100, so every generation has added or changed a bit. But we’re unusual in that we don’t have a church hall for a church this size and it restricts what we can do. We can’t have meetings, meals, dances or whatever.”

He said worshippers were looking forward to the church’s next phase, adding: “Everybody is very excited about it.

“We haven’t done anything quite this big for about 150 years, when the last big extension was added to the church.”

The scheme still needs to get the go-ahead from the Oxford Anglican diocese, but work could start next year.

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