Grants pave the way for village hall refurbishment

The Breamish Hall in Powburn.
The Breamish Hall in Powburn.

A major refurbishment of the Breamish Hall in Powburn has been completed with minimal disruption.

The Breamish Hall Committee secured £33,400 to resurface the car park and redecorate the main hall.

The process began in January when the committee considered applying for a Hallmark Award.

Members realised straight away they would not meet its ‘clean, tidy approach to the hall’ criteria as the car park was in a very poor condition.

It had a partial asphalt surface with deep potholes and raised ironwork with no markings.

The overflow parking consisted of a gravel surface which people were reluctant to park on, consequently people parked haphazardly and did not make best use of the space available.

The committee agreed to ask North East Concrete to resurface it at a cost of £22,742 and set themselves the task of writing to various trusts to obtain funding, committing £2,500 from their own funds.

They attended a funding fair in Newbiggin run by Northumberland Community Voluntary Action and made arrangements to speak to various funders, including The Big Lottery Fund.

The committee put together a wish list of things they needed for the hall: a refurbished car park, suspended ceilings in both halls with integrated lights, decorating of main hall including floor sanding, blinds throughout the hall, six new tables, a wheelchair ramp and an external noticeboard.

To the committee’s delight, they were granted £25,000 from the Big Lottery, £2,000 from National Parks, £2,000 from local councillor Wendy Pattison’s small schemes fund, £900 from the Rothley Trust and £500 each from the Carr-Ellison Family Trust and Percy Hedley 1990 Charitable Trust.

Work started in early July, with the committee facing the tricky task of keeping the hall open to users with minimal disruption. The committee are quite proud of the fact they only had to cancel one class!

Remarkably, everything came together in time for a celebratory evening with the duo Marty Craggs and Trevor Sewell in late August, despite a few hitches along the way. All the painting of the main hall, corridor and toilets was carried out by members of the local community.

Secretary Doreen Burn said: “The difference to the Breamish Hall is amazing. The car park is now much bigger with allocated bays, people are now parking considerately and it is no longer a health and safety hazard.

“The main hall looks like a new room, it is so bright and light. The committee are currently planning to have a mural on one of the walls done by a local artist.

“The LEDs will mean their electricity usage should come down and the toilet sensors mean they are no longer constantly checking the toilets to see if the lights have been left on. They have just taken delivery of the six new tables and are awaiting the external noticeboard and wheelchair ramp.

“All of the users are delighted with the results as are members of the community.

“When the committee set out on this in January they had no idea they would achieve so much in such a short space of time. It is thanks to the funders, the local community and the committee this has happened. It just goes to show what you can achieve when you all work together.”