STOURBRIDGE'S Side by Side theatre group has now moved into its new premises - the former St John's Church.

The move comes 18 months after the theatre company for people with learning disabilities bought the former ring road side church thanks to a generous donation, following many years of having no permanent home.

Since acquiring the building, the group has since raised thousands of pounds in donations to fund roof repairs, a complete re-wire of the building in St John's Road, a new heating system, new lighting and a brand new kitchen and toilets.

Sue Wallin MBE, founder of Side by Side theatre group, said: “It was wonderful for the students together with their parents and carers to be able to have a private viewing of The Side Space in advance of starting to rehearse there.

"They reacted very positively to the new venue, and are all very excited about the start of this new chapter for Side by Side."

Now known as The Side Space at St John's, the venue will initially be used by the theatre group and other groups offering services to those with learning disabilities.

But later this year it will also be offered for use to other members of the community for arts and theatre ventures.