Liverpool

Speke's Noah's Ark pub to become a Baptist church

Noah's Ark
Image caption Work has started to transform the Noah's Ark pub in Ganworth Road, Speke

A derelict Liverpool pub is to be transformed into a church.

Refurbishment work has started to change the former Noah's Ark in Garforth Road, Speke, into a church and community centre.

Speke Baptist Church plans to turn the building, which stands in a one acre site, into a church and community centre with a cafe and laundrette.

The church bought the building in 2009 and plans to open the first phase in December.

Its current place of worship is opposite the Noah's Ark.

"Speke is a big place with a big heart and at the heart is the Noah's Ark. Countless families have had celebrations and have built memories here," Pastor Steve Casey said.

"Two years ago it was falling into disrepair and had gone on to the market and we thought 'Why can't we rescue it from the developers and use it once again as a place that is special and has an important meaning to local people?'

"The community has taken a bit of a knock recently.

"I've lived in Speke over the last 10 years and we've seen four out of six pubs close which means cohesion is breaking down.

"People don't have a place to relate and it is less easy to get to know your neighbours."

The church was established in 1947 and has recently seen a recent growth in community activities resulting in the current building becoming too small.

"We want this to be a place where the local people can help the local community," Mr Casey said.

"We want to provide a centre that is saying we have got a community identity, we do want cohesion and we want to work for the good of the people around us."

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