A church which was left homeless has secured a £1.1m loan to renovate a derelict printworks into a new community centre in Croydon.

Grace Tabernacle, now renamed as Charis House, was offered the seven-figure funding package from Unity Trust Bank, last year.

Charis House situated on Grenaby Road, will provide a place of worship and space for a range of educational and support programmes.

The new-build plans to feature programmes for both adults and young people including, anti-knife crime initiatives and monitored liaison for estranged families.

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Charis House, which was bought for £1.85m and is now valued at more than £2m, has a car park, auditorium and office space which can be rented out to other community groups to generate additional revenue.

Bishop Paul Reid, who has led the church since 1993, said: “We were renting space in a local school but this hampered the community outreach arm of the church.

"I’ve seen how lives have been transformed by the work we do, from single mums at their wits’ end to young people coming off the streets and joining youth programmes.

“With the impact, the ministry can make in the community, we needed a permanent home to be able to run our support programmes.

“The building was a complete mess when we bought it and needed total refurbishment.

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"It was also a huge financial undertaking but Unity Trust Bank saw our vision.

“They were very empathetic and liked our ethos.

“The pandemic has meant we can’t open yet and generate income but Unity have been very understanding and supportive

"They’ve been remarkable.”

Relationship Manager at Unity Trust Bank, Matt Conroy added: “We support organisations that share our values in wanting to make a positive difference to society.

“Grace Tabernacle is very active in the community, ensuring the church engages with residents and addresses local societal issues.

"We’re delighted they have a new base to continue their vital work.”

Visit www.unity.co.uk for more information.