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West Norfolk's celebration of village halls



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A village hall in West Norfolk is thriving after its refurbishment and extension.

Barton Bendish Village Hall has seen its use more than double since completion despite lockdown restrictions.

The 1905 former Oddfellows hall in Barton Bendish, which has served as a village hall since the first world war, recently benefitted from a £250k extension and refurbishment.

Barton Bendish village hall. (54455595)
Barton Bendish village hall. (54455595)

Funded by grants from a number of bodies, including the National Lottery Community Fund, the Trusthouse Charitable Foundation, The Prince’s Countryside Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation and many others, the work was completed in February 2021 by local builders MJB Building Contractors.

Although not used until restrictions were lifted in July 2021, the hall has since seen significant demand for a whole range of functions supporting the local community and addressing issues of rural isolation and loneliness, issues that have been exacerbated by the covid restrictions over the last 18 months.

Chris Parsons, secretary to the trustees said: "It’s really great to see the hall being used so much and so many people benefitting from the improvements.

The interior of the newly refurbished Barton Bendish village hall. (54455589)
The interior of the newly refurbished Barton Bendish village hall. (54455589)

"We’ve never seen it so busy, and everyone is very complimentary about the space and the new facilities.

"Our bookings are more than double the pre-pandemic/pre-refurbishment use.

"We had tremendous support from Community Action Norfolk and Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) who are promoting Village Halls Week on January 24-30.

The terrace outside Barton Bendish village hall. (54455586)
The terrace outside Barton Bendish village hall. (54455586)

"These facilities are often central to rural communities such as ours, and this has never been more valuable than over the last year or so."

Tim Webster, chair of the trustees said: "We are really grateful to the players of the National Lottery and to all the other funders who helped us revitalise the hall and ensure we can continue to support our community through the provision of state-of-the-art facilities such as these."

An art and craft event at Barton Bendish village hall. (54455592)
An art and craft event at Barton Bendish village hall. (54455592)
A wedding at Barton Bendish village hall in 1909. (54455583)
A wedding at Barton Bendish village hall in 1909. (54455583)


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