Fundraising plea to help with rural village hall's post-Covid major revamp

Downham Village Hall has launched a £20k appeal for funds to help towards its post-covid future.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 12:30 pm
One of the scenic greeting cards by Caroline Assheton in her fundraising efforts to boost funds for the hall

The news that it needs a major refurbishment before it can re-open as a popular arts, entertainment and local events venue came as a shock to the small rural communities of Downham and Twiston in the Ribble Valley.

The Hall needs to be completely rewired, a number of health and safety, fire and disabled access issues addressed and much of the roof replaced and, at an estimated cost of nearly £80,000. The good news is that the refurbishment project has recently been offered significant grant aid, with the Lancashire Environment Partnership awarding a main grant of £30,000, the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund committing £5,000 and Ribble Valley Borough Council has allocated £3,300 from its Recreation and Culture Grant scheme.

Neil Wallace, Downham Village Hall's new committee chairman, said: “Last summer, we met in small, distanced groups with experts to assess what was needed for the hopeful autumn

re-opening of the Hall. The investigations threw up serious and unexpected problems that we’ve since been trying to address. Covid has complicated site visits and obtaining quotes

for work from contractors - all necessary for applying for grant aid – and a very challenging financial picture has emerged.

“The committee has also explored opportunities for a number of improvements to the Hall, particularly for better sustainable energy, disabled access, toilet facilities and putting in more

environmentally-friendly external aspects. The future flexibility of use is included in the plans, which we’ve been working on with Stage 2 Downham and other regular user groups,”

he explained.

A pack of eight greeting cards featuring a beautiful image of Downham is available for people who love Downham to buy at £5.00 (+ p and p) to help with the fundraising effort. They

have been produced by Caroline Assheton, a professional artist who lives in the village and will be on sale from Downham’s Ice Cream shop and Greendale View Kitchen or via e-mail:

[email protected]More than 30 letters of support from organisations, groups and individuals have been received for the project which, as well as the structural and safety issues addressed, will make the Hall more environmentally friendly and economically viable in the future.

The Village Hall has committed £8,000 from its savings and decisions on further applications to charitable institutions and grant making bodies are awaited.

Anyone wishing to support the project is asked to CLICK HERE