A mammoth clean-up job has brought an historic Fylde coast building one step closer to re-opening.
More than 30 volunteers from the Department of Work and Pensions pitched in to spruce up the former St Chad’s Church Hall, in Poulton.
A community group set up to save the building, which has fallen into disrepair since it closed in 2013, finally got the keys to the building last month.
And the Vicarage Park Community Centre group said is was delighted with the progress made thanks to the help of local DWP staff.
Trustee Chris Gannon said: “We managed to clear out years of accumulated junk from inside the Hall and put aside a large pile of useful items for recycling through a local charity shop.
“The Civil Service Volunteers did a marvellous job of clearing the overgrown jungle around the building and quickly filled the waste bins to overflowing.
“It was a terrific team effort and well worth it.”
DWP staff from the Warbreck House and Peel Park offices in Blackpool helped out as part of the its Community 10,000 project.
It is part of a wider scheme in the civil service to provide 30,000 days of volunteering time each year and give staff the chance to support the wider community.
DWP volunteer manager Sarah Oxley said: “The scheme aims to provide staff with a rewarding volunteering experience and personal development..
“It provides external organisations with a useful contribution to their work, a chance to learn from volunteers’ skills and experience, and an opportunity to build a lasting relationship with us.”
VPCC trustee and volunteer organiser Sarah Walsh said: “We have just signed a 35-year lease on the hall but it may take some months to raise sufficient funds to enable the building’s structural problems to be fixed so that it can be reopened.
“We wanted to show local people that we are determined to achieve this and do something practical within our immediate reach to improve the appearance of the building and its amenity for our neighbours.
“We are extremely grateful to the team of civil servants who gave their labour for free to enable us to tackle a job that would otherwise have taken us many weeks to achieve on our own.”
Organisers thanked Wyre Council and its waste management contractor Veolia for providing skips to use on the day.