ARARAT - Following approval by Ararat Rural City Council for the redevelopment of St Mary's Church in May this year, St Mary's Catholic Parish of Ararat has launched its appeal for funds to help build the Parish Centre attached to the Church.
The cost of construction is estimated to $600,000 with the Parish having access to $400,000 and required to fund the shortfall of $200,000.
Spokesperson Tom Rees said the concept of a Parish Centre has been in the making for more than ten years with parishioners at many Parish assemblies stating the case for the need for another space to gather besides the Church.
"It is exciting to at last be on the verge of building it and being able to use it," he said.
The Parish Centre will be built onto the current church and will be much larger than the old St Mary's hall, with easy access, modern kitchen and toilet facilities with disabled access.
A Parish Centre committee lead by Peter Brady has spent nearly three years planning and negotiating the building of the complex, with Max Perovich from Designplus Consulting Group appointed the designer and consultant.
Local builder Andrew Eastick was the successful tenderer for the project which is scheduled to commence in February 2013.
Father Brendan Davey, who has recently celebrated his Golden Jubilee as a priest, is delighted the new Parish Centre will finally go ahead.
"We need a gathering spaces for after funerals and baptisms and other events," he said.
"The new centre will become part of the church and we will be able to have it all under one roof."
The parish has already begun its fundraising activities, with this Sunday's trash and treasure market at the Alexandra Hall in aid of the fund, while Father Davey said church fetes and other activities are planned in coming months to raise further funds.
Letters have also been sent out to parishioners and parents at St Mary's School and Marian College inviting donations and suggestions for fundraising and all donations will be most welcome.
Father Davey praised the committee for the work it is doing under the leadership of Peter Brady.
"They are doing a mighty job," he said.
"This is something that is badly needed. The facilities we have at St Mary's Hall are old and we want something that is up to the minute."
Further information can be obtained by calling Emma on 53525460, Peter 53521972 or Tom on 0418300835