October 12, 2015 | Community News
Users of a South Yorkshire village church hall are sitting more comfortably thanks to a donation from a regional renewable energy firm.
A £975 grant from Barlborough-based Banks Renewables has helped the Council of St Peter’s Church in Barnburgh, to the west of Doncaster, buy 50 new chairs for their church hall as replacements for predecessors that had begun to show their age.
And positive feedback from users of the church hall about the difference the new chairs are making to their enjoyment of it is acting as encouragement to the Council’s hopes of attracting more people and groups to use the hall.
St Peter’s Church hall is already used for a wide range of community meetings and events, including dance groups, singing groups and meetings of the local Mothers Union, as well as a variety of church functions.
The history of the church itself goes back almost 900 years to Norman times, and it is well known as the site of the popular local legend of the Cat and the Man, which details a tremendous, wide-ranging battle between a knight and a wild big cat which ends at the church’s door.
Banks is the company behind the Marr wind farm, which sits nearby to the west of junction 37 of the A1M, and this donation has been provided from the Marr community benefits fund, which sees part of the revenues generated by the wind farm used to fund community and environmental improvements that are identified in partnership with local people.
Over £30,000 has been given to local community projects from the Marr fund over the last three years, including donations to St Wilfrid’s Church in Hickleton, Barnburgh & Harlington Junior Football Club and Hickleton Parish Council.
Reverend Alan Griffiths, rector at St Peter’s, says: “As well as being faded and increasingly threadbare, the chairs we had were very heavy, which made them difficult for older users of the hall to set up and move about, whereas the replacements that we’ve now been able to bring in are much more manoeuvrable.
“We’ve been fundraising for this project for some time, but as with most community churches these days, priority has to be given to meeting the costs that simply enable us to keep the doors open, and we would have had to struggle on using what we had for much longer if we hadn’t been able to get this generous support from Banks Renewables.
“People are telling us that they’re enjoying the time they spend in the church hall much more for having somewhere more comfortable to sit while they’re there, and we’re hopeful that, as word spreads about the improvements we’ve made, we’ll get more local people and groups using their hall for the meetings and events.”
Lewis Stokes, development relations coordinator at The Banks Group, adds: “The Marr wind farm community fund was specifically designed to deliver tangible, long-lasting social and environmental benefits to the local area, and helping the Church Council in this practical way is a great example of how this ambition is being realised in practice.”
Any community groups in Barnburgh, Brodsworth, Hickleton, High Melton, Marr, and Sprotbrough & Cusworth that are interested in applying for funding from the Marr community benefits fund can find out more information about doing so by contacting James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342