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Big Lottery Fund cements future of Oxfordshire Memorial Hall

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South East England
Community Buildings
Release date:
17 12 2008

Celebrations are underway in Somerton, Oxfordshire, today following news that the village’s old, run-down hall is to be rebuilt with a bumper lottery award.

The Big Lottery Fund has pledged more than £311,000 to transform Barnes Memorial Hall, the village’s only community facility, which currently has a leaking roof and a lifespan of less than five years due to major subsidence.

Now, with the funding from BIG’s Community Buildings programme, the damp and draughty hall will be demolished and a new centre built on the same site. As well as being more energy efficient with a new heating system and insulation, the modern facility will have a new bar and kitchen area and will also offer full disabled access, including disabled toilets.

Construction is due to start next spring and completed by the end of next year.

While providing local community groups, including a social club and women’s group, with a much safer and more comfortable venue to continue meeting, the new hall will also allow a much greater range of activities to take place, such as a parents and toddlers group, adult education classes, and clubs for seniors, children and young people.

There are also plans to use the hall as a venue for a co-operative shopping scheme where residents, who are currently without a shop in the village, could come to buy general goods and local produce.

Peter Clark, Chairman of Trustees (Barnes Memorial Hall) and Chairman of the re-build committee, said: “Somerton has no shop, no pub, no school and almost no public transport.  Our Village Hall is the essential heart of our village, but was at risk of imminent closure due to subsidence and disrepair. The grant will breathe new life into our community by providing the funds to allow us to build a modern well-designed hall open to all. We would like to thank the Big Lottery Fund and all other contributors for their vital support, which will make such an enormous difference to the people of Somerton.”

The rebuild of Barnes Memorial Hall is one of three South East projects receiving more than £870,000 from BIG’s Community Buildings programme today.

Alison Rowe, Big Lottery Fund Head of Region for the South East, said: “BIG is delighted to be supporting this wonderful project, which will give the people of Somerton a modern, fit-for-purpose centre in their community that they can use and enjoy for years to come.”

Further Information

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours contact: 07867 500 572
Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030
Textphone: 0845 6021 659

Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  • Community Buildings is dedicated to investing in buildings that give communities a chance to improve their quality of life and meet local needs, by offering a range of activities and services open to a broad range of people.
  • £50 million will be distributed across England over three years with grants of £50,000 to £500,000 available.
  • The programme opened for applications in June 2006. 200 applicants were invited to submit stage 2 applications and development funding was awarded to some projects.
  • The programme is now closed for applications.  
  • The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out half the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
  • BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since June 2004. The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £22 billion has now been raised and more than 300,500 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.