Village celebrates lotto boost

VILLAGERS are celebrating a major windfall from the Lottery.The Community Fund will todayannounce a £200,000 boost to plans for a new village hall at Brandeston, near Framlingham.

VILLAGERS are celebrating a major windfall from the Lottery.

The Community Fund will todayannounce a £200,000 boost to plans for a new village hall at Brandeston, near Framlingham.

It is third time lucky for fundraisers for the project, who have been looking since 1997 at how to replace an old World War I hut which has served as the village hall until now.

Two previous lottery bids for the project were unsuccessful.

"In 1999 it was clear we had to do something about it and it was deteriorating badly," explained Mark Hounsell, chairman of the village hut replacement sub committee.

The new hall will be about twice the size of its predecessor and will include a committee room, kitchen, toilets, showers and disabled facilities.

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It is hoped it will become a focal point for a range of village activities including wedding receptions, and events for the elderly, children and mothers and toddlers.

"We are actually trying to rejuvenate and revitalise our village," explained Mr Hounsell.

"Because facilities are so poor, activities have died away."

Their original plans would have cost around £350,000. After their bid was knocked back, they decided to carry out work in two phases and came up with a project costing around £270,000 to £280,000.

As well as the Lottery, the project will receive grant aid from the Garfield Weston Foundation, Suffolk Coastal District Council, Suffolk County Council and around £30,000 from the village hall funds and from fundraising. They have about £15,000 left to raise for the work to go ahead.

They hope to start work on the building in Spring next year.

"This is actually our third application so third time lucky you might say," said Mr Hounsell.

He said he was "about 20 foot off the ground" after receiving the good news.

"We are absolutely elated," he said.

He praised Suffolk Coastal District Council and Community Fund official for supporting and guiding them, and the villagers for their backing.

"They have been extremely helpful and supportive," he said. "We are very grateful to them."

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