Work has begun on the £5million pound restoration of the Grade-II listed St John at Hackney Church.

Early last year the 227-year-old church was given a £1.84million grant for the major works by the Heritage Lottery Fund. And it used it to bring in top names from the world of architecture and design to oversee the project.

Internationally renowned designer John Pawson who worked on the Design Museum is on board, and work is being led by RIBA Award-winning ecclesiastical and conservation architects Thomas Ford and Partner.

Es Devlin OBE, known for her work with Beyonce, Kanye West and the Pet Shop Boys, and for designing the closing ceremony of the London Olympics, is also part of the team.

East London building firm Rooff, who worked on the redevelopment of Walthamstow Wetlands, is the main contractor and is looking to have the project finished this autumn.

The idea is to reconfigure the church to its original Greek Cross plan and provide more space for activities, services and music concerts. New features will include the creation of two new chapels in the north and south wings, a raised stage and a range of new facilities.

Revd Al Gordon, rector of Hackney said: “The beginning of our main works marks a major milestone in the restoration of St John at Hackney.

“Over the next year, we will see our church transformed to become a cathedral of creativity, and we have assembled an amazing team to make this happen. We want to make this a place that brings life to the community here long into the future, with all welcome to walk through our doors – our vision is simple: to bring hope to the heart of Hackney.”

The lottery grant will also support the delivery of a three-year “activity plan”, which will focus on engaging the community with the church’s history and heritage, and making the restored building as widely used as possible. It will include the creation of a community archive, an oral history project, a sensory garden and guided tours.

More than 800 people attend the church’s activities each week, with four regular Sunday services, and midweek activities, including the Lighthouse project, Foodbank, Alpha, Hey Baby and Connect Groups.