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Funding received: £65,784.89 (29% of total project cost)
Priority area*: Provide rural services
Project outline: Renovating Ashwell Village Hall so it is accessible and meets the changing needs of the community.
A hall fit for the 21st century
Ashwell Village Hall in Rutland was originally completed in 1925. Following the First World War and the Spanish Flu epidemic, the hall was one of thousands built across the country; a public space that everyone could enjoy and hold community activities.
In 2017 it became obvious that major renovations – and expenditure – was needed to keep the hall functioning. On inspection, the architects pronounced the hall had only five years of use let before it was fit for demolition.
The LEADER programme provided £65,784.89 towards the refurbishment and extension of the hall to make it compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). This included remodelling the entrance hall, providing ramp access, and refurbishing the toilets.
Additional funding was also sourced from ACRE, the Bernard Sunley Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the National Lottery. This has provided wifi, fitted a brand new kitchen, renovated the roofing, including new windows, and enhancing the front façade.
In spite of securing over £156,000, an additional £74,000 had to be secured from other sources. The community dug deep, holding sausage and curry nights, and gift days to raise the funds, on top of a bequest of £40,000 that the Village Hall Committee was able to access which had been in the bank for some years.
The hall was officially reopened by the Lord Lieutenant of Rutland, Dr Sarah Furness on 16 September 2021, “Today the COVID-19 pandemic has also led us to question certainties… One of the positives of enforced social isolation has been a renewed focus on the value of community and social interaction. We realise we need each other.
“Opening this splendid renovated village hall now is therefore particularly appropriate. It is a community focal point and is even more vital as there is now no school, shop, or pub as a meeting point for villagers.”
The hall now hosts a multitude of events for residents throughout the year and is once again at the heart of village life.
Pictured: Lord Lieutenant of Rutland, Dr Sarah Furness (centre) with members of the Ashwell Village Hall Committee.
Click the images below to enlarge.