FINISHING touches are being made to a twostorey church extension that will create a busy community hub for parishioners.

Congregation members at St Andrew’s Church, in Linton Road, Oxford, raised more than £2m for the scheme, called the ‘Jubilee Project’.

It has been designed by Grove Street architecture firm MEB Design and will add a new hall, meeting spaces, youth rooms, creche, kitchen, café area and offices.

The church gained planning permission in May 2012 and construction began in January 2014.

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Committee members hope it will be ready for use by the end of this month.

Committee treasurer Andrew Downs said: “The new building will enable us to do lots of things better than we previously could.

“In particular, we want to open up to the wider community and encourage outside groups to use the facilities more. We are also excited about being able to do more for young people.

“There is often an image of churches as stuffy places with ageing populations, but here we are trying to involve young people and include them in the leadership.”

The new building will be connected to the existing church on its south side, through a glazed corridor that will double as a concourse.

The church community has helped to raise £2.5m for the work, which has been carried out by Cumnor Hill-based construction firm Beard.

Mr Downs added: “The amount people raised for this project, almost entirely on their own, is hugely encouraging, because it really shows the commitment of people here to building something for the future.”

An opening ceremony will be held on Saturday, March 14 at the church, when former Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard will preach at a special service.

Simon Beaumont, of MEB Design, said: “It has been quite a rewarding project and the church raised all its own funds for it. The main idea behind it was that churches are trying to diversify at the moment and become a bigger part of modern communities.

“Originally, they were just places of worship with some small places to meet, but this will give St Andrew’s a much bigger range of facilities.”

Rev Canon Andrew Wingfield Digby, vicar of St Andrew’s, said: “More than 100 years ago, visionary Christian people in North Oxford had the faith and courage to found and build St Andrew’s, a church fit for the 20th century.

“God richly blessed their vision, but now we have a challenge.

Our building urgently needs an annexe to welcome in and serve all the people God is bringing to us in the 21st century. This annexe will be a great resource for Christian mission and service in our community for generations to come.”