Issued: September 19, 2017
Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing praises new Hope Centre at St Mary's Church, Loughton
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Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing has praised everyone involved with the Hope Centre project at St Mary's Church in Loughton.
The new centre has cost £1.1m, most of which has been raised by members of the church.
An official opening with a ribbon-cutting was held during the Love Loughton family fun day on Saturday.
Building work on the Hope Centre - that replaces the Ignite Centre which was built in the 1970s and was no longer fit-for-purpose - started in July last year.
The centre is attached to the main church building via a glazed link and offers a large hall, meeting room, catering facilities and counselling room.
The centre will offer a range of services to the local community, including Epping Forest Foodbank, Christian counselling, toddler groups and youth work, and activities for the elderly and isolated.
The Hope Centre is also available for lettings.
Mrs Laing, who spoke at the opening along with the Bishop of Barking the Rt Rev'd Peter Hill, Epping Forest District Council chairman Dave Stallan, Loughton Mayor Philip Abraham and vicar Rev'd Malcolm Macdonald, said: "I was delighted to attend the official opening and to see the fabulous new facilities that are available.
"This project has been funded mostly by the church community and means there are new facilities available for many Loughton organisations who now have superb surroundings in which to provide their services.
"My congratulations go to everyone at St Mary's for ensuring this ambitious project has come to fruition, and also to everyone involved with Saturday's Love Loughton event which attracted many people to the church and its new community centre."