December 3, 2015 | Community News
The future of a busy South Yorkshire community centre has been secured after the completion of vital structural repairs to the building.
Dunford Parish Community Association has been responsible for carrying out repair work over the last few years at the centre, but earlier this year, it hit a major stumbling block during the third phase of the improvement programme.
Investigations revealed that the structure of one of the outer walls of the 60 year-old wooden building could not be easily repaired, and that it required significant attention if the centre was to remain in a usable state.
Despite funds being raised by the Community Association and grants being received over the years, notably from the East Peak Partnership, it still lacked the funds required to carry out this essential work.
But now, a £7,299 grant from renewable energy firm Banks Renewables has enabled the necessary work to be completed before the onset of winter.
Financial help was also given by Wavin (formerly Hepworth Iron Company), who provided valuable assistance in the management of the project, while advice and support was also forthcoming from Dunford Parish Council, which is the leaseholder of the centre.
Local business Liles Construction was appointed as the main contractor for the project, while South Yorkshire firm Melvyn Redman carried out the plumbing and electrical elements of the job. Associated improvement work was, and continues to be undertaken by members and friends of the Community Association.
The work, which involved replacing an existing wooded wall with interior and exterior brick walls, has now provided a greater degree of security and insulation in the centre, which was originally founded in the 1960s as a sports and social club for employees of the Hepworth Iron Company (now Wavin), and which is available to host a range of events and activities for individuals and groups from the Dunford Parish area and beyond.
The funding for the project was provided by Banks Renewables from the Hazlehead Wind Farm Community Fund, which was set up to enable Banks to support a range of community and environmental improvement schemes in partnership with local people using revenues generated by the nearby Hazlehead wind farm.
Barbara Cockburn, chairperson and bookings co-ordinator of Dunford Parish Community Association, says: “We’ve been making improvements to the building over several years, but when we saw that the wall was in far worse a condition than we expected, we knew the work and cost required to put it right was going to be much more substantial than we had anticipated.
“There was a real danger that, if it got much worse, it would put the whole building out of action, and we would have lost what is one of the very few community resources in our area.
“We’d have really been struggling to get the work done without Banks Renewables’ support, and it is reassuring to note that we’ve had a lot of positive comments from visitors to the centre about how much better the building looks and how much more comfortable the conditions are inside.
“Getting the work done before the winter weather sets in will make a real difference to our enjoyment of the building over the coming months. Although the inside of the centre needs further cosmetic work, it’s a weight off our minds to know that we don’t have to worry about any structural problems any longer.”
Allan Pestell, chairman of Dunford Parish Council, adds: “The Council is pleased to have helped obtain the grant from Banks Renewables. The area is fortunate to have this well-managed facility, and thanks must go to all those individuals who have helped in any way towards securing its future.”
Lewis Stokes, development relations coordinator at Banks Renewables, says: “The impact that this work has already had mirrors the sort of positive outcomes that the Hazlehead Wind Farm Community Fund was specifically designed to deliver, and we’re pleased to be able to help secure the long-term future of such a valuable community resource.”
To discuss bookings at the Dunford community centre, please contact Barbara Cockburn on 01226 762533.
Community groups in the Dunford Parish Council area that are interested in applying for funding from the Hazlehead Wind Farm Community Fund can find out more information about doing so by contacting James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.