St James Village Hall unveils the results of a two-year makeover project

St James Village Hall has unveiled its new look. Committee members Antoinette McCormack, Jane Bastow

St James Village Hall has unveiled its new look. Committee members Antoinette McCormack, Jane Bastow Susan Wilson and Jan Chappell in the newly-refurbished hall PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A village hall has been has been given a complete makeover following a two-year project by its committee.

St James Village Hall supports the villages of St James and St Nicholas South Elmham, and is an essential part of community life following the demise of the village pub and shop.

Over the past few years the Village Hall Committee Charity, which is responsible for the upkeep of the hall, has applied for funding for a number of improvements including new central heating, double glazing, installation of a storeroom, a new men’s toilet and in March 2015 the refurbishment of the kitchen.

And the latest project, unveiled this month, saw the refurbishment of the main hall, including resurfacing the sprung floor and relining the badminton court. The improvements were carried out thanks to a grant from Central England Cooperative.

Jan Chappell, secretary of the committee said: “We submitted an application for funding from The Making a Difference Community Dividend and were delighted to be awarded a grant of £4,080 to cover the cost of this work.

“We also spoke to Ridgeons Limited in Halesworth who very generously donated the paint.”

The cheque was presented to the committee at the Halesworth Co-operative store on Monday and Mrs Chappell said she hoped more people would be encouraged to make use of the hall.

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“It was so dilapidated before and the kitchen couldn’t be used because it didn’t meet hygiene requirements,” she said. “But now we are thrilled to bits with it. It has far exceeded our expectations.”

The hall is used on a weekly basis for badminton and short tennis and in the past has been hired out for parties, village events and a wedding.

It is also the venue for the villages’ annual Christmas dinner, which usually attracts around 80 guests.

Jane Bastow, joint chairman of the committee, said: “We are really pleased with how it has turned out and we hope more people will come and use it.

“People are put off coming to St James because they think it is hard to find but it is only two turnings from Halesworth.”

The kitchen makeover, which was carried out by Wren Kitchens, was made possible following a grant from Viridor, along with funding from Adnams for kitchen supplies and further funds from the committee, who hold fundraising events throughout the year.

Anyone interested in booking the hall can contact Mrs Bastow on 01986 782413.