DISABLED churchgoers will benefit from easier access to a village hall.
Whitburn Parish Hall has undergone a £10,000 facelift, making it more disabled-friendly.
A new ramp has been installed at the back, and the toilet facilities have been improved.
Whitburn Parish Church raised most of the money, but the final £1,000, which meant the work could be carried out, came from a community grant.
The funds came from the East Shields and Whitburn community area forum.
Before the work was completed, it was a struggle for wheelchair-users and people with prams to get into the church hall, in Sandy Chare.
Whitburn and Marsden Labour ward councillors Peter Boyack, Tracey Dixon and Sylvia Spraggon, who backed the grant, are delighted they could help finalise the works.
Coun Boyack said: “This is great new addition to the church hall, and a real benefit to everybody who uses it.”
Coun Dixon said: “Until the ramp was installed, wheelchair users and mums and dads with prams and pushchairs were unable to attend groups in the parish hall, which only had steps to the entrance.
“I’m delighted the work has been completed, so the church can now better cater for people with disabilities and mums with youngsters.”
Coun Spraggon added: “The church hall is a valued community facility, used by up to 140 people. This new entrance is a great asset and will, hopefully, encourage more people to take advantage of the activities that take place there.”
The hall is used by various groups, including mums and tots, brownies, a baby clinic, fitness and dancing classes, bridge clubs and an after-school club.
Church warden John Shield said: “We are very grateful to the community area forum for its contribution to the works, and delighted to be able to continue improvements to the facilities for local people to use.”
The parish hall has also received a grant from the Natwest Community Force scheme to update the lighting and refurbish the kitchen.
For information on services and other activities, visit www.whitburnparishchurch.co.uk.