ALMOST £200,000 has been awarded to Beith Parish Church to restore the building and return it to a hub of the community.

A total of £76,800 is coming from Heritage Lottery Fund and £115,200 from Historic Environment Scotland.

Supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Historic Environment Scotland (HES), the project aims to carry out essential conservation work to protect and adapt the building. This will enable its continued use as a centre for worship and a hub for the community and visitors to the historic town of Beith.

Stella McLean, church elder, said: “It’s not watertight so it needs to be repaired and restored so we get more community involvement with it.”

Other Charitable Trusts supporting the project were Dalrymple Donaldson Fund,Baird Trust, Ferguson Bequest, All Churches Trust, Garfield Weston, Swinton Paterson and Co-op Community fund.The local congregation has also pledged to raise over £75,000.

Stella added: “None of this would have been possible without the outstanding work and leadership of John Barrett and the development committee.”

John Fulton Builders Ltd, based in Govan, has been awarded the contract and work will begin on November 19.

Lucy Casot, Head of HLF Scotland, said: “Scotland’s historic and diverse places of worship are so often at the heart of our communities.

“Thanks to National Lottery players HLF funds urgent structural repairs and also improved facilities and visitor information. Beith Parish Church is an excellent example of how HLF can help conserve a much-loved building, so it can continue to serve its local community.”

Patricia Gibson, MP for North Ayrshire and Arran, added: “The church is an iconic and important building for the town of Beith and beyond. It is most encouraging to learn that work will be carried out to ensure that the building is structurally sound, and weather proofed and that a programme of heritage activities and engagement will be delivered to facilitate community use.”

MSP for Cunninghame North, Kenneth Gibson, also congratulated the church on the award.

He said: “I am confident that the restoration of the tower will encourage more heritage visitors to discover the unique features of the chur ch including the stained-glass windows and woodwork by Beith craftsmen.”