A MAJOR scheme which aims to transform a historic hall into a modern community facility could soon be quids in.

Youngsters are being challenged to put their entrepreneurial skills to the test and turn tenners into wads of cash.

Members of uniformed youth groups linked to St James’ Church at Silsden are each being given a £10 note, with a remit to ‘make it grow’.

Half of what they raise will be kept by their group, while the remainder will go towards the church hall restoration project.

Worshippers at St James’, in Kirkgate, aim to raise £350,000 to bring the hall up to 21st-century standards.

So far, £120,000 has been coined-in and some of the money has already been spent on a new heating system, improvements to disabled access and large bi-folding doors.

It is hoped, funds permitting, that work will be completed within two years.

The £10 challenge follows the success of a similar initiative last year, which raised £4,208 – a whacking 220 per cent return on the initial injection of capital.

Vicar, the Rev David Griffiths, said the challenge provided a “win, win, win” situation.

He added: “These young people are challenged to work as a team, being innovative and creative and learning new skills and business acumen and at the same time they raise money – half of which goes to their own group and the other half helps us to create a church hall that is up to modern-day standards.”

The youngsters will be organising events and setting-up small businesses to raise cash.

Members of the 1st Silsden Guide company, one of the groups attached to the church, has begun its fundraising campaign.

A fashion show, by Silsden shop Carelli B, and a pigs’ race night are planned.

The co-operative crafts shop, Many Hands, is also lending its expertise to the project.

The Rev Griffiths says the hall ­– which adjoins the church – dates back 200 years and has always played an important part in community life, but in recent years had “fallen behind the expected standards”.

A design statement submitted with the plans said that although the property had been well maintained, there had been no major investment for about 30 years.

Visit stjamessilsden.org.uk for more about the church.