A CHURCH hall in Staincross is to transform into the village’s first community cinema.

St John’s the Evangelist Church Hall has received £6,436 in funding from the Co-op local community fund to open the new venture.

The cinema will be showing a variety of films from new releases to old classics.

It will be based in the church hall, which is also due to get a makeover.

Bob Hawes, the church warden, said: “We are also regenerating the room to make it a great place to host the films.

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“We’re installing new lights, a refurbishment of the toilet and are buying new equipment to make the cinema as good as possible.

“The cinema doesn’t have to stop at films, hopefully we could host live-streams of major events, plays and shows too.”

The cinema plans to show new blockbuster releases, weeks after they premiere in cinemas.

“If you want to come and see the latest releases, they will be showing at the community cinema for a cheaper price,” said David Robinson, a volunteer at St John’s.

“We’re so grateful to have received the grant and hopefully it’ll get people to overcome the first hurdle of coming to the church and to see what we can offer.

“We want to thank the Co-op at Mapplewell for supporting us and selecting us to be one of their Co-op local charities.”

Rebecca Birkbeck, the director of Community and Shared Value at the Co-op, said: “The local community fund is now a well-established way of supporting local causes who help to make communities safer, happier, and healthier places to live.

“We’re delighted to be able to support such a wide range of local groups as they help to improve well-being in Barnsley.”

Fr Tim Stevens, the vicar at St John’s, is looking ahead to how it could benefit both the church and the local community.

“A church should be the centre of the community and we want to be the centre of the community.

“The cinema is a great way to do this.”

Coun Harry Spence, who was present at the Co-op event, said: “What a winner for St John’s and the community. Judging the reaction from the coffee mornings, it will be a resounding success.

“The room itself will perhaps seat 30 comfortably, but I believe with the commitment of St John’s, this will attract both young and old - the young family for parties and the middle and senior citizens like myself to be able to plan a visit to the cinema.

“They have my full support in this venture.”

Work is about to begin on the community cinema, and it is due to launch early in the new year.