TENS of thousands of pounds are being spent to make a church more accessible for sacred and secular events.

The New Saint Andrew's project aims to convert the Grade II listed St Andrew's Church, completed in 1881 in the Rowbarton area of north Taunton, into a "community asset".

The first phase saw the installation of handrails at the main door, made by local artist blacksmith Ben Horrobin.

The next stage will see two additional toilets, improving the audience facilities for large events - Taunton Deane Borough Council has approved the plans, which also need the go ahead from the Diocese of Bath and Wells.

Future proposals include extending the kitchen and creating a self-contained space for smaller events.

New Saint Andrew's chairman Alan Cook said: "We want it to be a community asset for both sacred and secular events.

"We have launched an appeal for £30,000 for the toilet block extension, and St Andrew’s congregation and friends have already raised about one third of this amount."

Donations can be sent to The Parish Office, Greenway Avenue, Taunton TA2 6HU - cheques should be made payable to Taunton St Andrews PCC – Building Account.