Nottingham-based architects Cox Freeman have helped a Derbyshire church become a hub of activity after managing a complete rebuild of the community facility.

The £595,000 project for Ripley Methodist Church involved demolishing the existing Victorian building and creating a new church and multi-purpose community centre.

The two-storey facility has now been officially opened and is home to a string of community groups for all ages, as well as the church congregation.

“We are delighted to hear that Ripley Methodist Church has become such an important focus in the community,” said Chris Boffin, managing director of Cox Freeman, based in Stoney Street, The Lace Market. “This has been the third church project that Cox Freeman has been involved in, and one that gave us immense pride to work on.”

Using plans originally drawn up by the Nottingham-based Howitt Partnership, Cox Freeman oversaw the project from tender to completion.

“It was a difficult site access wise, as the church was down a narrow road, surrounded by houses, but the project went very smoothly and we are very pleased to have been a part of it. It gives us great satisfaction to be involved in community schemes such as this, which are becoming something of a speciality for us,” added Chris Boffin.

Ripley Methodist Church bookings secretary Brian Rose said a wide range of community groups were now using the church, including a mother and toddler group, a friendship circle for retired people, and exercise and slimming groups. It was also being used for bingo sessions, demonstration evenings and parties – with bookings already being made as far in advance as October.

“We are very pleased with the building, which is being used by several different community groups and is being booked by a number of different agencies and organisations,” said Brian.

The project, which has been the result of several years of planning and consultation between the church and existing and potential users of the building, has created 366m² of space on the ground floor and 58m² of space on the first floor.

Facilities at the Wood Street church include a community hall, rooms and a modern kitchen.