Work is now underway to convert a former Lincoln nightclub into a place of worship and a community space.

The new facility, which will be located in the former Co-op Hall on Free School Lane, is being developed by St Swithin’s Church and the Diocese of Lincoln and will be known as ‘The Salt House’.

The two-storey building will feature community space and a kitchen and servery area on the ground floor, and the first floor will provide the setting for worship. There will also be offices and meeting rooms.

It is anticipated that these new facilities will give the church the opportunity to further develop its work in serving the local community, with a variety of activities and programmes for families, youth and students and some of the more vulnerable people in the city, as well as provide a venue for various events, such as live music. The multi-functional worship space will be able to accommodate approximately 400 people, and is much-needed as the St Swithin’s Church building remains unavailable for use.

The renovation works, which are being undertaken by APSS, a local commercial interior design firm, have been split into two phases. Phase one is set to be completed in the early part of this year and will include a new roof and windows and a full refurbishment of the ground floor, and phase two will see the completion of the interior fit-out of the first floor.

The project is being funded through a Church of England Strategic Development Fund grant and significant funding from the diocese and St Swithin’s congregation. The Revd Jim Prestwood, Vicar of St Swithin’s Church, has said: “One of the things St Swithin was known for was throwing open the doors of the church, hosting parties for those not usually invited to parties and extending a welcome to anyone and everyone. That is how we want to be known as we work to play our part in seeing lives and communities transformed in our church, city and region. The Salt House provides us with mission-shaped facilities to do just that, and everyone is welcome.”

The Rt Revd Dr David Court, Acting Bishop of Lincoln, has said: “As a diocese we are excited to be working in partnership with St Swithin’s, and for all the possibilities that this new building in the heart of Lincoln will bring. As a Church we believe we have good news to share, that like salt can bring flavour and fullness to people’s lives. It is my prayer that this exciting new initiative will enable us to do that more and more for the people of Lincoln and for those who live further away.”