A £700,000 project to build a community space within a Feltwell church received a £1,200 boost when fundraisers held a charity craft fair.
The Friends of St Mary’s Church have now raised around £15,000 towards the North Aisle project, which aims to renovate a wing of the church by installing toilets and a kitchen to turn it into a community space.
Vanessa Cock, chairman of the Friends, said: “We have a complete wing of the church that is largely unused, so we have removed the pews and are now using it as a function space.
“It is just an empty space at the moment, but we want to develop it so that all community groups can use it.”
“We also want to put in a second floor so we can have a museum and heritage centre upstairs and a meeting room.”
The fundraisers are hoping to create a small village hall space within the grade I listed building which can become a hub for community groups such as the Brownies and Cubs, Zumba sessions and quiz nights.
Miss Cock said: “We don’t have a hall at the moment, just some space in the Methodist Chapel and there is an old British Legion hall that is unused, but nothing of the size and quality we are planning for the church.
“Although we only emptied the space of pews recently, we have already held a harvest auction, luncheons, a birthday party, quiz nights and a craft fair there, so it’s been well-used already.
“There are various groups quite interested in the space.”
The Friends are in the process of applying for a Hertitage Lottery Grant and hope to submit their application in November, with the potential to have it accepted in March and for work to begin this time next year.
Miss Cock said: “Raising money on our own will help to show that we deserve the grant and we hope it will make us more likely to be accepted first time.
“If so, we hope to have the church up and running in two years’ time.”
The Friends’ fundraising started in 2007 when the group formed to raise enough to pay for a replacement roof after it started to become dangerous.
The group has now raised a total of £45,000 towards both the roof work and the new project.
The latest fundraising event was the craft fair at the weekend, which saw 350 people coming through the doors of Porter’s Barn.
Miss Cock said: “We only do the craft fair once every two years so people really look forward to it.
“All our stalls did very good trade.”