Whiston village hall users sitting comfortably thanks to Banks Group grant

September 23, 2015 | Community News

Users of a South Yorkshire village hall are getting a more comfortable view of proceedings thanks to a four-figure grant from a renewable energy firm.

The Parish Council in Whiston near Rotherham has used a £3,000 grant from Barlborough-based renewable energy firm Banks Renewables to buy 100 new chairs for use in its village hall.

The chairs have been bought to replace existing seats that have become worn out through many years of use, although rather than being thrown away, these older items have instead been recycled for use by another local group.

The new seating complements 20 new tables that the Parish Council has purchased from its own funds, and it is hoped that the improved furnishings will help to further increase the numbers of people and groups choosing to hold their events in the village hall.

Opened more than two decades ago, Whiston Village Hall plays host to a huge variety of community groups and events, ranging from brownies, guides, playgroups and a cinema club to art and music groups, a wine club and the local WI.

The grant was awarded to Whiston Parish Council from the community fund linked to Banks Renewables’ nearby Penny Hill wind farm, which is ring-fenced for use within the parishes of Aston, Thurcroft, Treeton, Ulley and Whiston, and which has already has seen grants totalling over £40,000 made in support of organisations across these communities.

Angela Harrison, locum clerk to Whiston Parish Council, says: “Being part of such a busy venue naturally means that our old chairs have taken rather a battering over the years, and they were definitely showing their age.

“Add to that the weight of the old tables, which made it difficult for our older users to move them about, and the time had definitely come for an upgrade.

“The new chairs are easy to move and store, and the feedback we’ve had about them so far has been great.  Without Banks Renewables’ support, it would have been very difficult for us to afford all the changes we wanted to, so we’re very grateful for the generous funding they’ve provided.

“The income we get from holding outside events is crucial to meeting the village hall’s running costs, and we’re hopeful that being able to offer a higher standard of furnishings like this will make our already-busy schedule even more so.”

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, a figure which would increase if the solar PV scheme that Banks is now looking to locate on a portion of the Penny Hill site gets the go ahead.

Lewis Stokes, development relations coordinator at the Banks Group, adds: “Whiston Village Hall is at the centre of so many community activities, and we’re very pleased to be able to help give its furnishings the upgrade for which they were clearly ready.

“The Penny Hill Wind Farm Community Fund was specifically designed to help local community organisations such as this improve what they could offer to their members, users and other people in the area, and our hope is to be able to do even more through the solar PV scheme that we’re looking to bring forward at the Penny Hill site.”

Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations in the vicinity of the 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.

For further information on the Penny Hill solar PV project, and to register support for it, please visit  www.banksgroup.co.uk/penny-hill-solar

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