A South Yorkshire village hall has been given a smart new look and better protection from the winter weather thanks to a four-figure grant from the community benefits fund linked to a Doncaster wind farm.
The wooden fascias and window surroundings on the village hall at Adwick upon Dearne near Mexborough have been in place since the venue was built in 1983 and have gradually become progressively more weatherworn over time, leading to a decline in the building’s appearance.
Adwick upon Dearne Parish Council, which has responsibility for the building’s upkeep as part of its property rental agreement, didn’t have the money needed to pay for the renovation work required to put this right, and could potentially have had to hand the building back to its owners as a result.
But after making a successful application to the community benefits fund linked to Banks Renewables’ nearby Marr Wind Farm, a £3,000 grant has enabled the Parish Council to put things right again.
As well as repairing and repainting the affected areas, a new, long-lasting sign has been added to the building which replicates the wording that was first placed there when the building opened.
The four-turbine Marr Wind Farm, which sits to the west of Doncaster near junction 37 of the A1(M), has generated over £108,000 for the fund over the last 11 years, with grants totalling more than £63,000 being awarded to over 30 recipients so far.
The maximum grant available from the fund was recently increased to £5,000, and while it is primarily designed to assist with specific capital purchases, applications are now also being considered for helping to cover organisations’ running costs.
Organisations and projects that have previously received grants from the Marr fund include St Peter’s Church in Barnburgh, Hickleton Parish Council, All Saints Church in Hooton Pagnell, the play area in Marr, and the Green Lane Action Committee.
Ian Boydon, chair of Adwick upon Dearne Parish Council, says: “The hall is the only building of its type in the village, and as well as acting as a venue for a range of different activities, it also plays a vital role as a warm hub where residents can come and spend time together in a welcoming environment without having to worry about their heating bills.
“The condition of the building has naturally deteriorated over four decades, and repairing the damage was becoming an increasing priority for us, both in terms of providing a welcoming venue for visitors and living up to our responsibility for keeping it in good condition.
“With lots of other costs to meet from a limited budget, we weren’t in a position to get this work done until Banks Renewables stepped forward to help us out.
“We’ve had lots of great feedback from residents about how much better the village hall now looks, and we’re hoping the improvements we’ve been able to make will help to attract more people and groups from across the wider local area to hold their events and activities with us.”
The Marr Wind Farm generated over 18,100 MWh of green electricity during Banks Renewables’ last financial year, which is enough to meet the annual energy requirements of more than 5,000 homes.
Banks Renewables is currently looking for permission to extend the lifespan of the wind farm by 15 years, to 40 years’ duration, and would extend the lifespan of the community benefits fund by the same length if its application is approved.
Jamilah Hassan, community relations manager at the Banks Group, adds: “Venues like Adwick upon Dearne village hall are at the absolute heart of their communities and have a hugely positive impact on local people of all ages.
“The Marr Wind Farm fund was designed to bring tangible, long-term benefits to its surrounding communities and we’re very pleased to be adding another name to the list of fantastic projects that it has been able to support over more than a decade.”
Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations looking for funding from the Marr Wind Farm Fund should contact the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 or visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/development-with-care/bankscommunityfund