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£32k grant saves village hall after a closure scare



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A £32,000 grant has breathed new life into a village hall, which was “on its last legs” according to a committee member.

North Wootton Village Hall was reopened on Saturday with borough mayor Nick Daubney and long-time resident Mary Cook cutting the ribbon.

It marked the culmination of 18 months work by the hall’s management committee to save it from closure.

Antony Lamb, of the committee, said the parish council had wanted to knock it down due to the hall’s deteriorating condition.

However, a grant from WREN, a not-for-profit business who award grants to community projects, has ensured the village hall will flourish for many years to come.

The money was generated through WREN’s FCC Community Action Fund.

Inside the refurbished North Wootton Village hall
Inside the refurbished North Wootton Village hall

Mr Lamb said: “The place was on its last legs really. A group of us got together to save the hall and to get it decorated.

“The refurbishment was needed as the hall was not usable. There was no heating, the lighting had fused and no groups were coming to us throughout the winter.

“So it was definitely needed and it’s proved by the amount of people using the hall now”.

Already, the revamped hall has three wedding bookings, yoga and dog classes on its schedule.

What’s more, a children’s group is being set up after a lady expressed interest in its running on Saturday.

This is in addition to bingo, which is held on the fourth Sunday of each month, and plans to host tea parties for the elderly every week.

Mr Lamb said nearly 200 people attended the open event at the weekend between 9am and 1pm.

Visitors were able to see the changes, which include a new kitchen, lights and toilets.

As well as socialising over refreshments, a historical corner was set up for people to look at, tracing the existence of the hall since it was first opened in 1937.

The Mayor of King's Lynn Nick Daubney with long time local resident of North Wootton Mary Cook celebrating the official opening of the newly refurbished village hall
The Mayor of King's Lynn Nick Daubney with long time local resident of North Wootton Mary Cook celebrating the official opening of the newly refurbished village hall

Dennis Blackmore, chairman of the village hall management committee, said: “Thanks to the dedication of the committee, the support of the parish council, the help of villagers, the generosity of local businesses and the substantial grant from WREN, the hall has been transformed inside and out.

“The effect of all these changes has been almost immediate. The hall sits comfortably at the heart of our village and we have seen its use increase considerably; from weddings and family parties to bingo and yoga.

“The hall has returned to the heart of the community; this is just the beginning of a new era as we discover just how much this unique building can offer”.



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