AN ‘ICONIC’ South Lakeland church which serves as a community hub for hundreds of people has made an urgent plea to the public to help protect its future.

Fundraisers at St George’s Parish Church, in Castle Street, Kendal, need in excess of £50,000 to ensure the building can meet the demands of serving the congregation and several groups and societies which make use of its facilities.

But the landmark building, which sits beside the River Kent, has undergone a number of extensions and alterations since it opened in 1841, which means it is not listed, so many funding avenues are closed.

Urgent work is now being carried out to replace rusted iron bolts on the guttering, at a cost of £10,000, and further repairs are also needed after a recent inspection found two ‘huge’ blocks of stone at the top of one of the towers were dangerously loose and ‘ready to drop off’.

On top of this, the church would like to renovate its kitchen and carry out soundproofing to ensure that music, theatre and dance groups are able to hold sessions without disturbing other activities in neighbouring rooms.

Church warden Stephen Appleby said: “We are hoping people will come forward and donate to support our activities.

“People have been very generous but it is a difficult situation because keeping the building running costs a lot of money.

“This is an ‘iconic’ building.

“If it got to the stage where we are no longer able to keep the building going, three quarters of Kendal would be horrified at losing it, but it is only the 100 people who regularly worship here who are paying towards the costs.”

Among the groups which make use of the church and its facilities are the Mothers’ Union, Music Circle, Rainbows and Dance Atikk as well as therapy groups.