A new community centre opened its doors to dignitaries and community leaders on Saturday for its grand opening.

The Open Door Centre in St Albans Road was officially opened by Bishop of Stepney Adrian Newman, Deputy Lieutenant of Barnet Martin Russell and Mayor Cllr David Longstaff along with other notable clergy in north London.

The Open Door Appeal, a fundraising campaign led by parishioners of Christ Church Barnet, raised more than £1.1m to purchase and transform the Victorian building, which once served as the original Christ Church School.

Christ Church Barnet associate vicar Revd. Joanna James said: “The tireless fundraising over the past seven years show how committed our community is to providing support and companionship to those who need it most.

“It has been their vision since this project began and without them it would not have been possible.”

The event began with a service of thanksgiving in a packed church of more than 300 people, led by Revd. James, before congregation members and dignitaries laid a hand on the new building to pray a blessing over the new venture.

Chair of trustees David Parry said “It was such a wonderful occasion which I'm sure will live long in the memory of those of us who were privileged to be part of the day.

“It was also a great delight that two former pupils of the original school attended and between them cut the magnificent celebration cake!”

The centre is open on Tuesday-Friday from 9am-4pm for teas, coffees and light lunches, and is already being used as a support centre of by clients from the Alzheimer’s Society.