PHASE one of The Spire community project, set in the heart of Poole, is nearing completion.

The former High Street Methodist Church is being transformed into a multi-purpose centre, which will be capable of hosting a wide range of events and workshops.

Volunteers, mainly from the church congregation, recently formed a working party to put the finishing touches to the centre’s community cafe.

Known as Wesley’s, the cafe will be opening its doors to the public later this autumn.

Members and friends at Poole Methodists, who will run the community scheme, have also been finishing off the chapel and meeting rooms.

Working party organiser Pete Smith said: “We felt that this would give people a chance to roll up their sleeves and get involved in a practical way.

“It has been very encouraging to see how many people have shown their enthusiasm for the project in this way.”

The next stage of the redevelopment work, that includes the provision of two halls, community meeting rooms and office space, is scheduled to start shortly.

A project spokesman explained: “Fundraising to complete the whole project is still going on and Garfield Weston Foundation, one of the UK’s largest grant-making trusts, has given its support to the tune of £200,000.

“This is one of the largest grants the foundation has made this year and it comes as a great boost to fundraising for the work to turn The Spire into a community hub.”

The church is being turned into a two-storey building, with a community cafe, a small chapel and an upstairs meeting/worship area for 250 people.

The two halls to the rear of the church will be turned into a new two-storey building, housing halls and community rooms for local groups.

Poole Methodists’ Revd Mark Kimber said: “We have a vision for what can be done to serve the community around us and it is both encouraging and exciting when others share that vision.”