Fund-raising efforts by the community of Blackmore End near Braintree have resulted in a £63,000 make-over for its historic and well-used village hall.
The unveiling of the new look hall took place on Thursday 24 November 2016 with guests Cllr John Jowers, Vice Chairman of Essex County Council; Cllrs Peter Tattersley and Peter Schwier of Braintree District Council and Alan Bowers, Vice-Chairman of Wethersfield Parish Council.
Mark Taylor, Chairman of Blackmore End Village Hall Committee said: “These improvements have significantly improved our hall as a venue for events and activities. We have already had a lot of very positive comments. We would like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who helped make these changes happen.”
The work was made possible after the Committee made successful appeals for funding to The Veolia Environmental Trust which awarded a grant of £29,875 through the Landfill Communities Fund; Braintree District Council which awarded £12,000 through its Mi Community Fund and Essex County Council which awarded £9,000 through its Community Initiatives Fund (CIF).
Cllr John Jowers, Vice-Chairman of Essex County Council said: “Congratulations to everyone at Blackmore End who has worked so hard to bring this project to fruition. The Village Hall looks fantastic and can now continue be a great asset to the community for many years to come.”
The work has included fitting a new, re-positioned kitchen and new, more spacious toilet facilities, including one for disabled users. Installation of a new, external access-ramp and creation of a new main rear entrance door mean everyone, including wheelchair users, people with impaired mobility and those with prams and pushchairs, can now use and enjoy the hall.
Councillor Gabrielle Spray, Chairman of Braintree District Council Grants Panel, said: "I’m delighted that money from the Mi Community Fund – which is now known as the Councillors' Community Grant Scheme – has made such a difference to this hall which helps local people come together for events and activities. I’d encourage all local projects and initiatives to take advantage of all the funding available to them to help support their communities.”
Opened in 1925, the hall is the focus of life in the village. It is used for a wide range of events including table tennis, Pilates, yoga and sewing clubs, quiz nights, coffee mornings, church meetings and private events such birthday parties.
Cllr Simon Walsh, Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste at Essex County Council, who leads the Community Initiatives Fund said: “Since CIF launched ten years ago, we’ve invested almost £20 million into a diversity of community projects with an aim to help make our communities greener, healthier and safer places.”
For more information about Essex County Council’s Community Initiatives Fund visit essex.gov.uk/cif