Take a sneak peek behind the scenes as work to transform a disused former church into a discovery centre edges closer to completion.

Huge progress has been made at the former West Bay Methodist Church and, once fully restored, it will become a hub of information for locals and visitors alike.

Local charity the Bridport Area Development Trust (BADT), which is behind the development project, plans to open the doors of the discovery centre to the public in August.

The ‘chapel on the beach’ had been empty and unused since it ceased use as a place of worship in 2006.

The building reverted to the landowner, West Dorset District Council, which sought an alternative use. The freehold of the building was transferred to BADT in July 2012 at the cost of £1 - on condition that the building should be converted into a visitor centre for West Bay.

BADT was awarded a £240,000 grant from the government’s Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) in April 2017 and has been working closely with Bridport and West Bay Coastal Community Team to breathe new life into the Grade II-listed building.

Builders have now completed the majority of the restoration and adaption and the outside of the building has been repainted and is looking clean and bright once again.

Trust director, John West, said: “The funding to restore the building was dependent upon us providing a visitor attraction for West Bay and all the consultation the trust has carried out has shown strong support for this idea.

"There has never been anything like this in West Bay. A lot of people visit and this will help them really appreciate all there us to do here; people may then stay longer and come back again."

"The interior displays, which are being finalised, will show how West Bay has developed over time had a very significant shipbuilding industry, been a successful trading port and finally staked its future on tourism. It will also tell the longer-term story of the area’s geology and its place in the word heritage coast."

BADT is keen to hear from anyone who has items, such as old documents, licences, tickets, that might compliment the stories of West Bay’s past, as well as those who would like to volunteer at the centre.

Mr West said: “Our volunteers will be at the heart of the centre, so we are looking for people who could perhaps spare an hour or two on a regular basis to welcome and guide visitors."

For more information, contact Mr West at info@westbaydiscoverycentre.org.uk.