7:00am Saturday 30th March 2013
A VITAL building in a Cotswold village has been restored thanks to a £50,000 fund-raising project.
The village hall, in Westcote, near Upper Rissington, had been badly in need of repair after 40 years of use by the community.
Fund-raising starting 18 months ago to update the toilets but after closer inspection, the committee found a leaking flat roof which also needed urgent attention.
Work has included replacing and insulating the roof, new toilet facilities and store room, rewiring, new heating and new doors.
The work has been funded by a £20,000 grant from the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust, £10,000 from the Cotswold District Council Community Project fund and £2,000 from the Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation along with donations from residents and fund-raising events.
Committee member Roger Boning said the work was strongly supported by the community with more than 100 signatures gathered on a petition.
“People were absolutely fantastic,” he said. “Everyone we approached was prepared to support it.
It’s an important thing for the village like this to have a hall. It’s better, it’s warmer and it’s much more welcoming.”
Westcote Village Hall, originally a small tithe barn which belonged to St Mary’s Church, was sold by the Church Commissioners to residents in 1968 for £1 for conversion into a village hall.
“It’s something we hope will increase the use that we make of it already,” said Mr Boning.
“It’s the centrepiece of the village and vitally integral to a community like this.”
Professor Stephen Owen, chairman of Gloucestershire Environmental Trust, said they were particularly impressed by the “commitment and enthusiasm” of the small community in improving its village hall.
“We decided to give Westcote Village Hall an additional grant to guarantee that building work could be undertaken before the onset of the worst of the winter weather,” he said.
A commemorative plaque was unveiled on Saturday by William Gibson, who has lived in the village for 90 years, and Graham Kitchen, Westcote Village Hall committee member.
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