WORK is set to start on rebuilding a church hall which has destroyed in a fire more than four years ago.

Since the devastating blaze which destroyed St John’s Church hall, in Meadowfield, in 2014, members of the community have been working hard to raise enough money to rebuild the facility.

They have managed to reach their target of around £682,000 for the project, including more than £20,000 from fundraisers in the community, and building work will start next week.

Lesley Baxter, who has been leading the community fundraising, said: “It’s been a long time. It’s taken us four years since the fire. Once Monday comes, I’ll know it’s really happening.

“We’re all very excited. Everyone who passes has been asking if anything is going to happen and eventually we will be able to say it is.”

The hall had to be demolished after the fire in March 2014.

A 30-year lease has now been agreed between The Durham Diocesan Board of Finance, St John’s Church and a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) set up to run the new community hall.

The CIO currently has three trustees but plans are being made to advertise for more shortly.

It is hoped the hall will be finished by next March and further fundraising is being done to buy equipment for the new facility.

The new building will have disabled access and be dementia friendly, and will have a large hall with space to seat up to 200, as well as a small meeting room, a large kitchen, toilets and an office.

The final money for the project came from a s106 fund, which was secured as part of planning permission for the nearby Avant homes development.

Other contributions have come from local councillors, the Mid Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP) and Brandon and Byshottles Parish Council.

Ms Baxter added: “We’ve managed to get pots of money from all sorts of sources.

We’ve had to do it ourselves and look for different funders but we’ve managed it.”