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Grant award means village hall go-ahead

PUBLISHED: 09:59 16 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:44 12 July 2010

We've done it! Occold residents celebrate their lottery grant.

We've done it! Occold residents celebrate their lottery grant.

A £220,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund will enable a long-delayed village hall and community centre project to get off the ground.

The grant means work on the new eco-friendly building in Occold can start in spring 2009, securing the future of existing activities in the old hall and increasing the range available to the community.

A £220,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund will enable a long-delayed village hall and community centre project to get off the ground.

The grant means work on the new eco-friendly building in Occold can start in spring 2009, securing the future of existing activities in the old hall and increasing the range available to the community.

Fundraising for the project started 15 years ago but until now the community has failed to attract Lottery support. Two previous applications failed.

The new building - expected to take six months to complete - will be of low energy design and rainwater captured from the roof will be used to irrigate a garden run by the village school.

The project leaders also hope to install either a ground source or air source heat pump to help reduce the building's carbon footprint.

Dawn Crisp, project treasurer said: “This is absolutely fantastic news for Occold. The Big Lottery Fund support for our New Village Hall and Community Centre means we can now deliver community facilities to meet the needs of 21st century village life.

“Occold has no shop or post office and our old hall is simply unviable to maintain or develop but it enjoys a centre of village location and the benefit of a large green open space.

“After more than 15 years of fundraising, we can now look forward to building an even greater sense of community within the village. We'll reintroduce voluntary groups that disbanded or relocated due to the lack of facilities offered by the old hall, and begin developing new services for our wider community, which is often left isolated without local services.”

The new hall will host a variety of activities including clubs for the elderly and toddlers, a youth club, educational and keep-fit classes and breakfast and holiday clubs for school children.

Kevin Chittock, local parish council chairman, said members were delighted by the success of efforts to build the new hall.

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