March 18, 2015 | Community News
Users of a popular South Yorkshire village hall are sitting pretty after a four figure grant from a renewable energy firm paid for the purchase of three new leather sofas.
Up until now, Hickleton Village Hall has only been able to offer hard wooden chairs without padding to visitors to the various events and functions held there, meaning that facilities weren’t as comfortable as the management committee would like to have been able to offer.
But now, after a £2,100 grant from Banks Renewables from the benefits fund linked to the company’s nearby Marr wind farm, the new furniture has been put in place, and it’s already having a positive impact on the number of people using the village hall, with numbers rising for the Tuesday quiz nights and Thursday soup lunches hosted there
It’s now hoped that the more comfortable surroundings will encourage even more people and groups to make use of the venue.
Originally founded in 1948, Hickleton Village Hall is the only community facility of its type in the village, and plays host to a range of events including parish council meetings, children’s parties, christenings and visits from outside speakers.
It runs a bar night on Fridays, which is managed by a team of volunteers and raises money to help with the upkeep of the hall, and also offers regular themed food nights.
Gordon Wordsworth, chairman of the Hickleton Village Hall management committee, says: “The village hall is well used, but we’ve always been conscious that our seating arrangements weren’t as comfortable as they might be, which could make it difficult for our older visitors especially to stay as long as they might have wanted to.
“Our events generate enough money to cover the hall’s running costs, but we don’t have the cash available for this sort of capital purchase, so bringing in this new furniture would have been beyond us without Banks Renewables’ generous help.
“Adding the sofas has created a more social atmosphere in the hall – people are tending to make a beeline for them, and will spend more time with us either enjoying their events or just having a chat with their friends and neighbours.
The Marr Community Fund was set up to enable Banks Renewables to fund a range of community and environmental improvements in partnership with local people using part of the revenues generated by the Marr wind farm.
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at Banks Renewables, says: “The impact that this furniture has already made mirrors the sort of positive outcomes that the Marr Community Fund was specifically designed to deliver, and we hope even more people will be encouraged to use Hickleton village hall in the future.”
Any community groups in Marr, Hickleton, Barnburgh or Harlington that are interested in applying for funding from the Marr Community Fund can find out more information about doing so by contacting James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342