A SOUTHAMPTON church is to see a £1.1m facelift thanks to community fundraising.

St James Methodist Church on St James Road is to have its main community area refurbished and facilities updated as the space is no longer big enough for the community that use it.

The refurbishment is estimated to cost £1.1m and work should be starting this July.

David Woodman, the Senior Property Steward for the church said that the church is "used more by the community than those who worship here".

He added: "The community are really behind us.

"The changes are being made because it's just not big enough and gets crowded with mums and buggies.

"There are lots of groups that meet here, there will be some disruption.

"We will still be open, we just have to make it work."

There are to be three phases of the refurbishment starting with extending the "Link" area in the church.

The phase one extension aims to provide an improved open and attractive area for the community groups that use it including Bumps and Babes, and the preschool that is run in the building.

There will also be an update to the access into the Link area as well as additional toilet facilities and a new cafe with a lounge area.

Phase two will see an update to the toilet and washroom area which is used by the preschool.

There will also be work to install a new fire escape, demolish the World War Two bunker on the premises and create an external play area for the play groups and preschool.

As part of phase three, a lift will be installed to the first floor community rooms and accommodations and new toilets, including a disabled toilet, will be provided as well as a new kitchen area.

It has been estimated that phases one and two of the construction will cost £703,572.58 and phase three will cost £346,501.23.

The church has raised money through funding and grants including a £380,000 donations from members of the church via coffee mornings and gifts left in Wills.

Work is expected to be finished by Easter next year.