A parish hall in Alcester which has been out-of-action for over three years is undergoing a £185,000 transformation.

The new facility at Our Lady and St Joseph is set to open in late September, although its full benefit will not be realised until all current Government restrictions relating to social gathering have been eased.

Work on the building is now well underway and includes a thorough renovation of the hall and kitchen, plus an extension linked to the hall by a new entrance porch which will include a meeting room.

This exciting transformation has been made possible with the support of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, Douai Abbey Trust and local community fundraising.

Further support has come via donations from a number of charitable trusts and foundations including the Allchurches Trust Limited, Bernard Sunley Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust and the Sir Harold Hood’s Charitable Trust.

The parish hall was originally the Catholic School, built in 1902. After the present primary school was built on another site in the 1960s it became the parish hall, and has been used by both the church and the wider community ever since.

In recent years it became evident that the building was coming to the end of its useful life. The main structure, although sound, was in need of some work and the inside needed a full refurbishment.

In addition to a refurbishment, an extension of facilities on offer was also proposed.

Fr Paul Gunter, parish priest, said: "I am delighted that the work has started on this project and its progress is already being commented upon favourably by the people of the town. That we are at this point is down to the painstaking work of all involved and a positive indication of the contribution the hall will make to the communities of Alcester and to the parish."

Now armed with his own hard hat Fr Paul visits the site most days to chat to the contractors.

It is hoped the new facility will be open by the end of September, weather permitting. However, it is only once current Government lockdown restrictions are eased that the Hall will be able to offer a full range of recreational, social and support services.

Our Lady and St Joseph Catholic Parish Hall in Alcester is a Douai Abbey Church and is part of the Archdiocese of Birmingham. Leveret Build Limited are our Lead Contractor and have completed other works for the Diocese, most recently the installation of a disabled ramp at the Diocesan Shrine in Hednesford.