£30k boost for village hall with a ‘buzz’

There was double cause for celebration in West Auckland when residents marked a century of their village hall and learnt that a £30,000 grant had been secured for vital renovations. 

believe housing awarded the funding to the community association at West Auckland Memorial Hall to replace its roof and heating system.   

Money will also go towards a series of events including youth activities during school holidays and community learning such as cookery classes. 

The news was shared with supporters when they gathered (on Friday 24 May) to celebrate 100 years since the laying of foundation stones at the hall, which was built for the benefit of local people and to honour the area’s World War I fallen. 

The original 1920s hall has been renovated and extended over the years and a new committee has recently overseen significant improvements inside and out, including a new kitchen, toilets and garden. 

Treasurer Sharon Proud said: “More work is needed to maintain the building, especially the roof which is like a sieve and the heating which lets us down regularly. 

“The grant from believe housing is a massive boost, it gets us over the line with that work and makes it a sustainable venue where we can plan for the future and look forward to bringing in more people of all ages from the surrounding area.” 

Joanne Norman, a Community Investment Coordinator at believe housing, said: “There is clearly a real determination from volunteers to not only keep the hall going but to see more happening there and to appeal to people of all ages, including children and families. 

“There is a buzz about the place, and we’re delighted to support its ongoing improvement so it can continue to create opportunities for residents, including our customers, to be part of their community by attending activities or volunteering.” 

Funding for the hall’s ongoing transformation has included donations from local people and businesses, West Auckland Parish Council, and the neighbourhood budgets of Durham County Councillors Rob Yorke and George Smith. 

Cllr Smith, who is Chairman of West Auckland Memorial Hall, said: “We’re trying to re-energise the hall for the good of local people, it is their building so it would be great to see more using it.” 

To find out more about our community grants scheme and latest funding opportunities, please click here.