October 27, 2016 | Community News
A busy County Durham community hall is hoping to see an increase in visitor numbers after marking its tenth anniversary with a complete redecoration.
Located in the grounds of St Mary Magdalene Church on Broomside Lane in Durham City, Belmont Parish Hall provides a venue for a wide range of community activities, ranging from toddlers groups, keep fit classes and stop smoking sessions through to coffee mornings, tai chi and zumba.
The purpose-built hall opened in 2006 with a remit of encouraging, developing and promoting social participation and community well-being, and provides over 60 hours of activities for hundreds of local people every week.
As it reached its tenth anniversary, the Parish Hall Association that is responsible for its management had been looking for ways to fund a complete redecoration of the venue in order to ensure it remained in the best possible condition.
And after a £4,400 grant was secured from regional employer The Banks Group via its Banks Community Fund, local firm Newton Decorators was awarded the contract to carry out the work, which has covered the main hall, two function rooms, the kitchen, office, hallway and three bathrooms.
The volunteer-run hall is now hoping that the improvements that have been made will encourage more people to consider holding their events at it, particularly for one-off functions such as wedding receptions, parties and christenings.
Harriet Pritchard, manager at Belmont Parish Hall Association, says: “The hall has been very well used ever since it opened, but inevitably after a ten years, the decor was beginning to look a little tired.
“Given the height of some of the ceilings in the hall, we didn’t think it was suitable to ask the volunteers that help to run the venue to do this work themselves, so wanted to get professional decorators to do the work, but we didn’t have the funds required to get this all done in one go, which we felt would be the least disruptive way to do the work required.
“The generous funding provided by the Banks Group has meant we’ve been able to get everything done and out of the way, rather than having to do it piecemeal, and it’s really given the hall a new lease of life.
“We’ve had lots of positive feedback from visitors on how impressive the hall now looks, and hopefully they’ll be spreading the word to friends and families about the sort of high quality facilities we can offer for their functions.”
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at the Banks Group, adds: “The Parish Hall is at the centre of so much community activity, and as it moves into its second decade, the funding we’ve made available will hopefully provide new momentum towards bringing even more people through its doors.”
The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks Group projects. Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 to check if their group or project is eligible.