A CHURCH is planning a £30,000 transformation of an old caretaker’s cottage so it can become the beating heart of youth activities.

Trinity Methodist Church, in Spennymoor, hopes to refurbish the small house at the rear of the church as a base for its work with young people.

Leaders hopes the building will become a nicer space for youngsters who already engage in church life, such as The Lightseekers Sunday school and C Da Unknown youth club, and attract others.

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Phil Mason, a lay worker with the West Durham Methodist Circuit, said: “Two rooms on the ground floor are currently used by the youth group but to say it is in a state of disrepair is an understatement, there is plaster falling off the walls.

“We see it as an opportunity not just to do some necessary building work but to make better use of the space, so we can reach out to more people and better serve the community.

“We need to try to get kids off the street and that space could be enjoyed by them, for playing games and socialising, to chill out or chat and while there we like to have discussions with them.

“As a church we believe we have got a message to offer and want to get young people thinking about God and faith, not in a pushy way but in an environment they enjoy and gives them that option.”

Church members will meet later this month to develop the plans and have started raising the £30,000 they expect the scheme to cost.

It has already been awarded £5,000 by Spennymoor Area Action Partnership. It was one of 12 projects to secure a grant when the AAP held a public vote, in December, to decide how to allocate funding to local initiatives and organisations.

Mr Mason added: “We were really pleased, the AAP money will go towards furnishings and equipment.

“We’ve asked young people to be involved in the whole process and to tell us what they want, things like an iPod docking station and television will help make the space more appealing, encourage them to come in and engage with the church.”