January 23, 2017 | Brenkley News
(from left) Eleanor Scott, Alexandra Bennett and Maureen Hall of Ellington Village Hall with Jeannie Kielty of the Banks Group
Users of a popular Northumberland village hall now have all the room they need to cook up a storm after a regional employer paid for a five-figure kitchen upgrade.
The committee at Ellington Village Hall had been looking for ways to improve the catering facilities it could offer as a way of encouraging more people to use the venue for their events and minimise the chances of accidents happening in what was a very small space.
An £11,100 grant from the Banks Group via its Banks Community Fund enabled the volunteer-run organisation to pay for a kitchen extension to be built, as well as for the existing facility to be improved.
Two ovens, a fridge, a microwave, a cooker and a boiling water tap have all been installed in the new kitchen, with local contractor David Tweddle being awarded the contract to carry out the building work.
And after holding a launch event to officially open the new facilities and thank everyone who helped with the project, the Hall committee is hoping to see more functions and events taking place in the building.
Originally built in the 1830s, Ellington Village Hall was brought back to life in 2009 by a group of dedicated local volunteers after falling into disrepair, and is now used by around 150 people every week.
Activities hosted at the Lynemouth Road venue range from Brownies, toddler groups and a dance club through to ukulele classes, a Weightwatchers group and twice-weekly lunches for older local residents.
Maureen Hall, committee secretary at Ellington Village Hall, says: “While the hall has been well used in recent years, the size of the kitchen was always a problem – when the oven door was down, you could barely get past it, and we knew we needed to make things much better if we wanted to attract more people in to use the facilities.
“Taking on this project required a lot of work, and the generous funding provided by the Banks Group has saved us a huge amount of time and fundraising effort.
“The response we’ve had to the new kitchen has been terrific – it looks fantastic and has everything that anyone could ever need for their events, so we hope to see even more people and groups choosing to hold their events with us.”
Jeannie Kielty, community relations manager at the Banks Group, adds: “The volunteers that rescued and run Ellington Village Hall dedicate a tremendous amount of time and energy to ensuring local people have continuing access to a community facility of this type, and being a long-term employer and investor in Northumberland, we’re very pleased to have contributed to this next phase of its development.”
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.