AN MP dug up support for a Methodist chapel today (February 6), as work got underway for a £35,000 extension.

MP for Bishop Auckland, Helen Goodman, visited Witton Park Methodist Chapel, where preparation work for a new kitchen has begun.

The project is being funded by the Scotto Trust and Durham County Council while a £7,400 grant has also been awarded from the Banks Group.

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MP Goodman was joined by county councillor, Rob Yorke, who has also backed the project along with fellow county councillor, Christine Wilson.

Chapel members have spent years fundraising for the extension after discovering that their existing kitchen was too small to cope with the popular luncheon club which attracts about 50 people every month.

MP Goodman said: “I think it’s really positive. Obviously there’s a long Methodist tradition in this part of Durham.”

She added: “It’s good to see that it’s thriving, growing, developing and I know that this Methodist chapel in Witton does a lot of good work in the community because I have been to the lunch club and met the people.”

Cllr Yorke said: “There’s a lot of community spirit in Witton Park – you don’t see many chapels these days and it’s really integrated into the community.”

The extension is expected to be finished in May, with the work being carried out by the chapel’s original builder, Jimmy Simpson.

The chapel itself was built eight years ago after the former chapel was demolished around 25 years ago and its 23 members were forced to worship in other community buildings such as the village hall.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” said the chapel’s property steward, John Swinbank.

“The idea is to expand the kitchen out so we can expand out to the community with the luncheon club because it’s a community place.”