A VOLUNTARY group in Bemerton is calling on local people to help secure the future of St John’s Church and transform it into a community centre.
The church’s heating system broke down five years ago and due to the cost of replacement and the small congregation, the Parochial Church Council decided to stop holding regular church services.
The Diocese is now looking to make the church redundant next year.
But a group of local people have got together to identify what support there is in the community for keeping the building.
Bemerton Community Group, a registered charity, wants to transform the church from its current state into a warm and vibrant meeting place in the heart of the community.
They want to create a community centre with modern facilities including a kitchen, disabled access and wi-fi, while retaining the church’s use for weddings, baptisms, funerals and possibly the return of regular services.
Bemerton St John School would also like to use the building during school hours to provide a range of additional activities.
The group is hoping to raise £200,000 of the £600,000 needed for the project from the community.
It has so far raised money through events such as a car boot sale and an autumn fair as well as Christmas carol services, private donations, and grants from Wiltshire Council, Salisbury City Council and the Wiltshire Village Hall Association.
Plans have been drawn up by architects, and the group is hoping to put in a planning application in the near future.
A meeting is being held at the church this evening from 7pm for people to find out more about the plans.
The group is also looking for people to fill in a survey at surveymonkey.com/S/LRMB2VS.