Horsley Church turned into multi-use building

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A project in a Gloucestershire village has turned the parish church into a vibrant space at the heart of the school and community.

image captionPews have been replaced by stackable chairs in the new layout

The nave of St Martin's in Horsley near Stroud has been converted for use by the local Church of England school.

It will also be used for worship and for holding community and arts events.

Over £250,000 has been raised from various grants including the Diocese of Gloucester and the Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust.

Church member and school governor Helen Knuckle said it showed that "the people of Horsley really do value the church and the community".

The space in the church, which has been named "3 in 1 Horsley" to denote its use by the church, school and community, was re-dedicated by Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Michael Perham.

The renovations include the removal of the pews which have been replaced by stackable chairs, a new entrance and flooring, proper disabled access and disabled toilets, and new heating.

A new kitchen has also been built, and the large nave of the church has been converted to free up more space.

Rob Stephens, Buildings and Admissions adviser for the Diocese, said: "All the work has been done thoughtfully.

"For instance, old floorboards were used to make storage cupboards and to screen the new toilet and kitchen facilities.

"Whilst providing a warm safe space for the local community, the project team has worked hard to ensure that the church has retained its beauty as a place of worship."

To help celebrate the achievements of all those who have worked on the project and the re-opening of the church, a number of events have been planned.

These include a celebration at Horsley School on Wednesday 23 March, and on Saturday 26 March there will be a party to launch 3 in 1 Horsley.

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