A Grade II listed church in Cumbria has won a £20,000 grant from the National Churches Trust.

Grange Methodist church will benefit from the investment as the money will go towards updating the facilities.

At over a century old, the church has fallen behind and is struggling to keep up with the demand for the building.

The church offers a lifeline to the local community by providing keep fit classes, a parent and baby group, theatre meets, as well as a repair café and yoga classes, all of which will benefit from the grant.

While showcasing a good example of late 19th century Gothic Revival architecture, the church’s facilities are ‘seriously outdated’.

Originally built in 1874, the toilets are cold, remote, and do not have hot water while the kitchen has restricted access, both making it difficult for people with mobility issues.

The ‘much-loved’ church will use its share of a £478,110 pay-out from the National Churches Trust to improve these spaces.

The money will help to pay for new kitchen facilities and toilets as well as an extension to make the building more accessible.

Gaining an extension will allow the church to welcome more people, once the work has been completed, Grange Methodist has exciting plans for their community including welcoming a charity for dementia sufferers and their carers.

The plan will also see the church gain four new, accessible rooms including two large meeting rooms on the ground floor and an additional room on the first floor.

The local community has been behind the church the whole way, with the project receiving widespread support from the local community and the local MP, Tim Farron.

Revd Jo Rand, minister at Grange Methodist Church, said: “We’re over the moon to be so close to our fundraising target with the support from National Churches Trust. We started out with a need to improve the accessibility of our building, but it was an opportunity to dream some dreams.

“We believe equality is important, but at the moment that’s not the message our building gives. This project means everyone will be able to come in through the same welcoming entrance, rather than having step-free access hidden away round the back by the bins, and the toilets will be easy to find, and have hot water for hand washing, and heating!

“The church hall has always been well used, but this project makes more of our building available for all sorts of uses through the week. Relocating the kitchen means that hospitality can be at the heart of what goes on at Grange Methodist Church, rather than only being available from the hall. The new kitchen will be much better laid out, making it safer and easier to work in.

“We’re so excited to be able to look ahead to the warm welcome we’ll be able to offer to all sorts of community groups, rather than having to apologise for the state of our facilities.”

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust, said: "The National Churches Trust is excited to be able to support Grange Methodist Church to enable them to install a new kitchen and accessible toilets. This will help to keep the church open and serving local people.

“Whether seeking quiet reflection, access to community services or a place to worship, the National Churches Trust helps hundreds of churches each year and with the support of local people, keeps them thriving today and tomorrow.”