Ponteland war memorial hall warming up for winter thanks to £10,000 Banks Group grant

November 14, 2012 | Property News

Users of a popular community venue in a Northumberland town will stay warm this winter after work to replace an antiquated heating system was completed with the help of a five-figure grant from the Banks Community Fund.

The management committee at Ponteland’s well-used War Memorial Hall had identified replacing its heating system as a vital part of securing the Hall’s long-term viability, and set up a fundraising campaign last year to raise the £60,000 required to make the necessary improvements.

A £10,000 grant from the Banks Community Fund has now enabled work on the system to be completed through the safe removal of asbestos from the 90-year old building.The Banks grant also paid for the ‘boxing in’ of five windows, the replacement of the hall’s curtains with blackout linings, and the installation of ceiling and wall insulation which will further improve the new heating system’s operational efficiency.

Originally opened in 1923, the War Memorial Hall was built by public subscription to commemorate the local men that had lost their lives during the First World War, and is the only community venue of its type in Ponteland.

It plays host to more than 20 local groups, from the Ponteland Repertory Company, Rotary Club and Women’s Institute through to the annual Flower Show and Leek Show, and has an annual footfall of more than 42,000 people.

Commander Eric Marshall, chairman of the Ponteland War Memorial Hall committee, says: “The old heating system was well past its best, and had no modern energy saving features such as thermostats or zoning capacity, so had become very inefficient and increasingly expensive to operate.

“Whilst the Hall has always been a very popular local venue, we knew we needed to improve the facilities that we offered to users to both make the environment as welcoming as possible for our existing users and to attract new functions and groups in the future.

“We had an excellent response to the fundraising appeal from the local community, and receiving this grant from the Banks Community Fund has enabled us to get over the finishing line far more quickly than we otherwise would have done.

“The new heating system has created a totally different atmosphere in the Hall, one on which many of our users have already commented extremely positively, and we’re continuing to look at ways in which we can improve our use of energy in the building, which will in turn help to drive down both our consumption and  fuel bills.”

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, adds: “Venues such as the War Memorial Hall provide a central point around which communities right across the country are based, but finding the funds required to maintain them to the right standards is always a challenge, and especially so in the current economic climate.

“We’re very pleased to help provide a more welcoming environment for the users of the hall, and hope that even more people from across the area will be encouraged to make us of it in the future.”

The Banks Community Fund is administered in partnership with the County Durham Community Foundation.  Further information on the types of capital projects that may be eligible for funding for community groups or voluntary organisations in the vicinity of a Banks Group development is available on www.bankscommunityfund.org.uk.

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