Village’s 30-year wait for new hall one step closer thanks to lottery funding
PUBLISHED: 07:30 31 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:51 01 April 2020
A Suffolk village’s 30-year wait for a new community hall has moved a step closer after securing significant lottery funding.
Grundisburgh has been waiting for a new hall for decades, with the existing building – blighted by damp and cold – struggling to meet the needs of village life.
The village has been raising money through cake sales, bike rides and pantomimes to fund new £1million plans for a hall, with a pledge fund set up with generous villagers seeing more than £75,000 raised by matching donations like-for-like.
But now, thanks to a £200,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund, their dream has moved a step closer, just years after the same fund rejected a bid for £500,000.
Bryan Laxton, chair of the village hall, said he was delighted by the news as a replacement is so desperately needed.
Mr Laxton said: “It is an almost 100-year-old building right at the end of it’s economical and practical life – it really is on its last legs.
“There is simply no other place in the village for people to congregate.”
The village has been lucky with the Big Lottery Fund announcing it intented to devote its grants to addressing the current coronavirus crisis just days after agreeing to Grundisburgh’s bid.
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The new hall would be built opposite the existing hall in Ipswich Road, near to the junction with Felgate Way, while permission has been granted for two homes to be built on the existing plot.
The total amount raised now stands at around £750,000.
Mr Laxton said he wanted the new hall to be a point of contact for villagers when they were in need of support.
He said: “We have around 7,000 visits to the hall every year, but the one thing we want to provide at the new hall is help for people living on the margins.
“With a new hall we would be able to run clinics such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and Sporting Memories – we couldn’t have elderly people in all year round in the existing hall as it gets too cold all the time.
“To be three quarters of the way there, it is a hell of a thing to say.”
Mr Laxton said he hoped fundraising will continue to move forward at the end of the coronavirus crisis when people have more disposable income.
The grant will be made available to the team once building work starts at the site.
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