Community rallies round to bring village hall back to life
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A group of volunteers from a Suffolk community donned their gardening gloves at the weekend in a bid to bring their historic village hall back to life.
Around 20 people started work clearing the grounds of Denham Village Hall today in preparation for a renovation which will see the building reopened.
The hall in Denham, near Eye, is part of the village’s Second World War history, having been used as a guardroom for the United States Air Force base until 1945.
The project, which includes replacing the roof and external cladding, as well as refurbishing the inside of the building, is expected to cost around £175,000 in total.
Tania Farrow, treasuer of the Denham Community Council and chairman of the parish council, said the Covid-19 pandemic has made fundraising for the project very difficult.
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“We’ve still got a significant amount to raise,” she said.
“We obviously had a few things planned before coronavirus hit and that put the kibosh on most of it but we’re looking to do it in stages.
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“We were intending to apply for National Lottery heritage funding because of the heritage of the airfield but they’ve closed all their grants at the moment until potentially October.
“So what we’re looking at doing at the moment is raising some smaller amounts to ensure that the hall remains in reasonable order over the coming winter.”
The Denham Community Council was formed last year to lead on the project to overhaul the building, which was closed two years ago.
Mrs Farrow said that the community council would be keen to hear from anyone willing to help with the renovation.
“We had a good turnout to help with the garden but we need more physical help and we need more support with fundraising so anybody who would like to get on board, we’d love it,” she added.
Volunteer Christine Drane, who was among the group who tackled the garden area at the hall on Saturday, said: “It was great, everybody brought their garden tools.
“There’s quite a lot to be done but we’re doing as much as we possibly can ourselves.
“The thought is there will be lots of fetes and teas and things in the future, so it will be really worthwhile doing.”