Christmas party launches £100,000 North Runcton hall renovation campaign

Christmas fundraising party to launch ?100k renovation appeal at North Runcton Village Meeting Place ANL-161112-184924009
Christmas fundraising party to launch ?100k renovation appeal at North Runcton Village Meeting Place ANL-161112-184924009
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A new appeal has been launched to raise £100,000 for the renovation of a West Norfolk village’s hall.

A Christmas party was held in North Runcton on Saturday night to begin the campaign to modernise the village’s meeting place.

Christmas fundraising party to launch �100k renovation appeal at North Runcton Village Meeting Place 
Christmas fundraising party to launch �100k renovation appeal at North Runcton Village Meeting Place 
Iain Miller ANL-161112-184936009

Christmas fundraising party to launch �100k renovation appeal at North Runcton Village Meeting Place Christmas fundraising party to launch �100k renovation appeal at North Runcton Village Meeting Place Iain Miller ANL-161112-184936009

Community leaders are seeking a grant to cover half the cost of the project and hope that work could start next summer, if enough funding is secured.

To do that, they are also looking to villagers to help them raise the other half of the total.

Parish council chairman Rick Morrish said: “We have asked all residents to think of how they can help us achieve the target.

“We have 300 households in the parish and if 200 of them raised or donated £250 we would be there.

“That seems like good value for perhaps 30 more years of use for this, our main community building.”

A total of £200 was raised at the launch party, which featured music by the Fenland Ukuleles group and the unveiling of a chart which will track the campaign’s progress over the coming months.

Plans for the hall, which have been developed by West Winch-based architects Ian H Bix Associates, include a larger lobby, increased storage, a refurbished kitchen, replacement roof works and improvements to bring the entrance up to modern access standards.

The building previously acted as the village’s school, and was where a young Michael Caine made some of his first acting steps as a wartime evacuee.

But Mr Morrish said: “No real money has been spent on the building for more than 30 years, since it finished being a school in about 1984.”

The area around North Runcton and nearby West Winch has been earmarked for major future housing developments, with as many as 1,600 new homes being built, and Mr Morrish believes now is the right time to modernise the building.

He said: “It will still be an important community asset and we’re trying to futureproof it.”

The parish council has applied to WREN for a grant covering half the cost of the work and is hoping to receive a response next month.