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CULTURE PLAN IN CHURCH FACELIF; NEW LEASE OF LIFE FOR CRUMBLING BUILDING.

Byline: CATHERINE JONES Social Afairs Reporter

THE crumbling former Welsh Presbyterian church in Toxteth could be given a new lease of life as a cultural, sports and arts centre.

Last week the ECHO revealed it was adding the Grade II listed structure in Princes Road, designed by celebrated architects William and George Audsley, to its Stop the Rot campaign.

Liverpool city council served an Urgent Works Notice on the owners, the Nigerian-based Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, before Christmas. It feared parts of the 135-year-old church could collapse.

Work is now almost complete on clearing the vandal-hit interior and removing parts of the roof.

The Manchester-based Youth Charter for Sport, Culture and the Arts charity, which has previously been unsuccessful with its plans to build a sporting centre at the church, says it is confident it can go ahead and create a unique community facility on the site.

Executive chairman Geoff Thompson says the proposed African Cultural Centre scheme, which could cost more than pounds 2m, has the backing of the Merseyside Association of Ghanaians, as well as the local community, and will compliment Liverpool's 2008 Capital of Culture bid.

He said: ``The centre will reflect sporting, artistic, economic and spiritual heritage, incorporating a programme of activities reflecting the original proposals and aspirations of the young people and wider community of Granby Toxteth.''

The centre would include a youth zone to promote citizenship through sport and the arts, a community zone to foster relationships between young people and other members of the population, an enterprise zone, an IT zone, and a unique display celebrating the diverse cultures present in Liverpool.

YCSCA is a nongovernmental organisation launched in 1993 as part of Manchester's 2000 Olympic bid and successful 2002 Commonwealth Games bid.

It campaigns and promotes the role and value of sport, art and technology as a way of socially including and developing young people for life.

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NEW ROLE: The former Welsh Presbyterian church could become a cultural centre
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 4, 2003
Words:331
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