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Village hall gets grant boost

PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 October 2009 | UPDATED: 08:40 01 August 2010

A VILLAGE hall near Halesworth has received a welcome shot in the arm after a cash windfall of £10,000.

St James Community Hall in St James South Elmham was facing possible closure through lack of heat and no double glazing.

A VILLAGE hall near Halesworth has received a welcome shot in the arm after a cash windfall of £10,000.

St James Community Hall in St James South Elmham was facing possible closure through lack of heat and no double glazing.

But thanks to a grant from the Big Lottery Fund's Awards for All programme, the 20 large windows are to be replaced, giving the building a fresh lease of life.

Chris Bradley, secretary of the hall committee who put the bid together, said they were delighted to be able to bring the hall up to date and secure its future.

“We're turning cartwheels,” he said. “When it was built in 1973 we had an awful lot of people involved and help from the council who shuffled land around to provide the site and it's a major asset to the village.

“As village hall's go, it's splendid. We have a stage, it's used as a sports hall to play Badminton, a meeting place for Christmas lunch for the whole village. It's the hub of the community.

“Our original windows got a bit tired. They are metal framed single glazed and drafty so we decided to look at what to do. We did get quotes of the amount of money it would cost but it was beyond normal fundraising.”

Mr Bradley set about putting a bid together for Awards for All and now work is ready to start.

“I had to make sure I represented the full value of the hall and its' benefits. It's an important place for the village and I thought I had been very careful preparing the bid. We weren't surprised to get the money, but boy, we were pleased.”

Waveney Windows will be installing the new double glazed windows and it is hoped to complete the project as soon as possible.

“We were looking at a situation where the existing windows would have deteriorated to such an extent we may have had to close the hall,” said Mr Bradley.

The hall is used by people from all over Waveney and boosts a stage area, kitchen, toilet facilities, spring floor and backstage area.

This weekend it will lend itself to the St James book sale where between 8,000 and 9,000 books from all periods will be on sale. There are also plans to hold indoor bowls sessions at the weekends.

Sara Betsworth, Big Lottery Fund head of region for East of England said: “Community groups across the East of England are working hard to create something that will improve the lives of young and old, whether that is creating a new facility, running a course, or simply holding a fun day. Time and again we see how a relatively small grant can make a real difference, which is why we are proud to be able to support them with almost £200,000 in grants this month.”

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