IT’S taken 10 long years, but a North Pennines village has finally got a new arts and visitor centre.

A decade ago a group of residents came up with the idea over a drink to renovate the village’s 146-year-old Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in the centre of the village and turn it into a community space.

Thanks to the efforts of village fund-raisers and a £1.69m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the building has now been relaunched as the Nenthead Arts and Visitor Centre (NAVC).

A special launch event was held last Friday to celebrate the milestone moment.

The Stanope Silver Band was on hand to provide entertainment to guests, who packed out the former chapel.

Sheila Bell also performed on the newly restored church organ, while retired methodist minister Mary Elliot gave a speech handing over the building.

Sandra Mackenzie, chairwoman of the board for NAVC, said: “Nenthead Arts and Visitor Centre is designed to provide a warm, welcoming environment for all.

“It’s a unique, vibrant space where people can share experiences and ideas, connect with our beautiful landscape and heritage, and where good food, creativity, music, arts and learning combine.

“We are hugely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund and to all those who have supported us to make this long-term project a reality.’

“It’s an amazing day. It’s just lovely. There’s so many people that should be thanked.

“It’s been ten years in the making, from a few people at the pub putting the idea together.”