A VILLAGE church is to become a hub of community activity again thanks to major improvements to the interior.

St Mary’s Church in Winterborne Stickland has had the work done thanks to £4,000 from the Dorset Historic Churches Trust (DHCT) and £8,500 from villagers and the church’s 40-strong Coffee Pot morning group.

The renovation included building a mezzanine floor in the bell tower to accommodate a growing number of bell ringers and a new kitchen in the base of the tower.

The developments are intended to make the inside of the church a more welcoming and usable space for the community.

Barry De Morgan, deanery representative for DHCT, said: “This beautiful church has a vibrant and active community and it is fantastic that the renovation work will make the building more usable for the village of Winterborne Stickland.”

The Rev Alan Ryan of St Mary’s added: “Historically, church interiors were used for all kinds of functions and we’re hoping that this renovation work will help St Mary’s Church become a real focus for the community once more.

“The recent work to the church has enhanced the building for all those that love the spiritual and community life that St Mary’s Church brings to Winterborne Stickland.”