Five-figure grant to help Overton village hall beat the leaks

March 9, 2012 | Community News

A popular village hall will soon be set fair to withstand the worst weather that the west coast can throw at it, thanks to a five-figure grant from a renewable energy firm.

Overton and District Memorial Hall in Overton, near Heysham, has received an £11,000 grant from Banks Renewables, via its Banks Community Fund, which will pay for the replacement of the leaking flat roof on an extension to the hall that currently allows rainwater directly into the building.

The damaged ceiling and interior under the flat roof will also be repaired, a new double glazed UPVC door will be installed to improve the building’s security and energy efficiency, and new carpets will be laid in the building’s entrance hall to help make the area more welcoming.

Work to the roof has now been completed, and the further improvements are expected to be completed in the near future. 

Built in 1949, the hall is very well-used by both villagers and people in the surrounding area for a variety of functions, from a daily pre-school nursery and weekly art and dance classes through to amateur dramatics and a very popular Friday Club for the over 60s, which attracts around 50 local people each week.

It attracts over 200 visitors each week and is open every day, but in recent years, the weather has posed an increasing problem, with rain pouring through the flat roofed extension and damaging furniture and equipment.

Mrs Alex Wolfenden, chair of Overton and District Memorial Hall Committee, says: “We’re thrilled that work is underway to re-roof the hall’s extension and to improve the building’s interior, and are extremely grateful to Banks for the help they’re giving to us.

“The equipment and furniture stored in the extension is used by each of the groups which use the hall regularly and it was soul destroying to see it getting damaged by the rain, especially when we’ve all had to work so hard fund-raising to buy the equipment in the first place. 

“Our main aim is to provide a welcoming place for the whole of the local community to use – in a semi-rural area like ours, having somewhere like this that people can get together is crucial for its long-term well-being.

“The grant we’ve received from Banks will make a massive difference to what we’re able to do in the future, and with a 20-year guarantee on the new roof, we know it will be a long time before we’re juggling with buckets and worrying about leaks again.”

Banks Renewables is behind the proposed £12m Heysham South wind farm development, which would be situated on agricultural land to the south of the A683, around 1km to the south east of the town.

If the three-turbine scheme goes ahead, between ten and fifty people would be employed on the site at any one time during the construction phase of the scheme, and local companies would be able to bid for related contracts worth up to £2.2m

Banks would also deliver a range of community and environmental improvements in partnership with local people through a benefits fund that would offer substantial capital support for projects in the area, to help ensure tangible, long-term benefits result from the company’s presence there.

If their planning application is successful, the company has also pledged to provide an investment of around £50,000 to set up a Warm Zone scheme for Lancaster, which would deliver practical measures to local homes in order to help to alleviate fuel poverty and improve domestic energy efficiency on a district-wide basis.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, adds: “It’s great to see that work is now underway to repair and protect this valuable local resource, and we’re very pleased to be helping to secure its long-term future.”

Projects, community groups, or organisations looking for funding in the vicinity of a Banks Group development should contact Clare Johnson at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

To contact Overton Memorial Hall email or for bookings telephone 01524 858206


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