May 14, 2014 | Community News
Users of a South Yorkshire village hall are enjoying smoother access to the venue thanks to the joint efforts of community members and a renewable energy firm.
The Ulley Millennium Trust has realised a long-held ambition to resurface the car park of its village’s Hall through a £5,287 grant from renewable energy firm Banks Renewables, via the community fund linked to Banks’ nearby Penny Hill Wind Farm.
Ulley Millennium Trust was set up in the year 2000 by a group of local residents with a view to improving their village hall with particular emphasis on promoting its use for the young and old within the village. The building had previously been the village school, but had fallen into disuse due to its poor condition.
Fundraising activities organised by the Trust secured enough capital to complete renovation work inside the Hall, but there were insufficient funds available to complete the planned works to the outside area, which is also used as a safe children’s play area and as a place for locating marquees and bars during summer functions.
To make the improvements, a team of local volunteers gave up dozens of hours to dig out the existing loose gravel surface and refill it with hardcore before local firm PTS could come along and put the new tarmac surface in place.
Peter Hubbard, chair at Ulley Millennium Trust, says: “While we’ve made good use of the hall’s outside area, it was in a far from ideal state, with people bringing dirt into the hall on their shoes and water not draining away as fast as we’d like, which could be a real problem when we were using it for function marquees and the rain came down.
“It took a lot of hard work from a good number of villagers to prepare the car park for this work being done, with those who weren’t physically able to do the necessary digging keeping us well supplied with teas and coffees through the days, and everyone at the Trust is very thankful for their support.
“As well as making the hall easier to access, the surface is much safer now, any water on it drains away quickly and the inside of the building is already staying much cleaner than it was, and with quite a few events planned for the summer months, we’re really only beginning to see the benefits.
“While resurfacing the car park was always on our minds, we couldn’t see any way that we’d be able to raise the money in the foreseeable future, so we’re extremely grateful for Banks’ support, without which this work couldn’t have been done.”
Rother Vale Ward Councillor John Swift, who has worked to support the project, adds: “After so many years’ hard work by so many people on the inside and outside of the village hall, it’s great to see that this funding from Banks has enabled us to finish what we started, and the whole place now looks fantastic when you walk past.”
The Penny Hill Wind Farm Community Fund will provide over £500,000 of community funding over the 25-year lifespan of the Penny Hill Wind Farm, which sits to the south east of Rotherham and west of the junction of the M1 and M18.
The fund is ring-fenced for use within the parishes of Aston, Thurcroft, Treeton, Ulley and Whiston, and aims to make a positive, long-term difference to local voluntary groups, environmental projects and community facilities in these areas.
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, says: “The work of the Ulley Millennium Trust has made a real difference to the local community over many years, and we’re very pleased to be able to support their latest project.”
Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks’ Penny Hill Wind Farm which are looking for a grant of up to £3,000 should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 for further information.