Access problems at a busy South Lakeland village hall have been smoothed out thanks to a four-figure grant from a renewable energy firm.
A large part of the main entrance area and the car park at Preston Patrick Memorial Hall near Crooklands had been affected by bad weather and regular use over the last few years, leading to a growing number of pot holes and other uneven areas appearing.
The damage was making it increasingly difficult for the large number of older people and parents with pushchairs to get to the events and community groups that they attended in the hall.
But now, a £3,000 grant from the community fund linked to renewable energy firm Banks Renewables’ nearby Armistead wind farm has enabled the Hall committee to commission local tradesman Kevin Davison to retarmac the whole area, as well as to replace a manhole cover and frame.
The grant is the latest in a series provided by The Banks Group in support of a range of projects at the Hall, with a £3,000 grant made last year from the Armistead fund paying for nine old leaking windows to be swapped for double-glazed replacements.
Two 2014 grants worth a total of £4,200 allowed for new sets of custom-made, fireproofed curtains fitted to the Hall’s stage and all the windows, as well a number of new doors, while a £12,000 grant given in 2012 supported the re-roofing and insulation of the building.
The Armistead wind farm generates over 31,200 MW of green electricity every year, which is enough to meet the annual energy requirements of more than 8,000 homes, and by doing so, displaces almost 10,900 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network per annum.
Preston Patrick Memorial Hall is used for a wide variety of community functions, ranging from judo, yoga and fitness classes, band practices and dog training sessions to meetings of groups including the local flower club, Women’s Institute and Young Farmers.
Located close to Junction 36 of the M6, it is an easily accessible venue for events which draw visitors from the wider South Lakeland and north Lancashire areas.
The Hall also received a £2,000 Locally Important Projects (LIPs) grant from South Lakeland District Council in support of the car park project.
Gina Robinson, secretary of the Preston Patrick Memorial Hall management committee, says: “The state of the car park had been worsening over the last few years and has reached the point where it was getting increasingly difficult and potentially dangerous for our older users to try to cross it.
“The resurfacing has made the car park look brand new – the surface looks so smooth, it’s much easier for everyone to use and it’s really lifted the whole exterior of the hall.
“We weren’t in a financial position to do anything other than find temporary solutions to our pothole problems, and the generous support that we’ve once again had from Banks Renewables has allowed us to address them properly before the winter weather sets in.”
The Armistead Wind Farm Community Fund will provide up to £307,500 of community funding from the revenue of the Armistead Wind Farm over its 25-year lifespan to help make a positive, long-term difference to local voluntary groups, environmental projects and community facilities in the area.
Eligibility is usually restricted to applicants within the parishes of Killington, Lupton, Mansergh, New Hutton, Old Hutton and Preston Patrick, although projects outside of these areas may be eligible if it can be shown that they benefit residents of the six parishes
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at the Banks Group, adds: “Preston Patrick Memorial Hall is an invaluable centre for so many local community groups, and being able to direct revenues generated by the Armistead wind farm towards making tangible improvements there is precisely the sort of thing that the fund was created to do.”
Community groups, or voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks Renewables’ Armistead Wind Farm that are looking for funding should contact the Banks Community Fund Manager at the County Durham Community Foundation on 0191 378 6342 to see if their project is eligible.