PLANS to turn the former Burtons store in Wrexham into a Christian faith centre is nearly complete.

Work to transform the store, located on Hope Street, into a new church and community hub, has reached a milestone as the internal fit-out begins, with the team starting to meet with people outside and online.

Over the summer months, the scaffolding came down to reveal the original stonework and windows, which were then restored to their former glory, while inside a new staircase and lift shaft has been constructed.

Work to insert a new shopfront will begin in October.

It is expected that the building, bought by the Diocese of St Asaph last year, will be ready to reopen its doors in January 2021.

Despite the delays to the project caused by Covid-19, the Hope Street team still started work over the summer.

On Tuesday, 6 October, the team will launch Alpha, which is a series of online interactive sessions offered by churches across the country, in order to explore the big questions of life, faith and meaning.

One of the leaders of Hope Street, Andy Kitchen, said: "We’re really excited to be here and can’t wait to welcome Wrexham into the building.

"Like so many things in 2020, we have had to adjust our plans due to Coronavirus.

"This pandemic continues to be a difficult time for so many people, and we felt it was important to open in a virtual way as soon as possible and look for ways to meet with and support people as restrictions permit.

"Alpha is designed for those who don’t have a background in church or the Christian faith.

"Its open to everyone and is a brilliant way for people to explore questions of life and faith.

"It’s a relaxed environment with space to make friends.

"This term we’re gathering online on a Tuesday evening for a short film and discussion.

"There’s no follow-up, no pressure."

Hope Street was the first project to be awarded a grant from the Church in Wales’ £10 million Evangelism Fund, launched in 2018 to provide major funding for dioceses to support evangelism and church growth.

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