A SMALL community which punches above its weight has succeeded in its bid for a £150,000 lottery grant to save its hall for future generations.
Sampford Courtenay is celebrating this week with the news that by the autumn its hall will be free from leaks and damage and back in full working order.
In the last two and a half years since the hall was found to be in need of extensive refurbishment work, the community of around 600 has raised £50,000 towards the ‘Roof-Us’ Appeal to stop it falling down.
Activities, fundraisers and a buy-a-tile appeal were spearheaded by the village hall commmittee and fundraising group and the parish council and church community all mucked it to help.
The success of the lottery bid has been put down to the fantastic collaboration between everyone.
Chairman of the committee Roger Thompson said: ‘We are absolutely delighted — it just shows you what a small village can do when everyone pulls together and puts the work in.
‘It is very exciting and we are looking forward to bringing the hall back to its former glory.’
He said that Sampford Courtenay was a vibrant community with a village pub and a church and lots going on: ‘People come to events and clubs here from Bondleigh and Broadwoodkelly and the hall is a bit of a central hub really,’ he said.
‘The WI meets here, the flower club and Exbourne Choir and there are table tennis, yoga and Tai chi sessions.
‘Recently people gathered here to get warm when we had a power cut and we have good wifi. The building came into its own during the pandemic when we ran meetings from here which everybody could Zoom into and we have had really successful takeaway evenings.’
Member of the fundraising committee David Botting-Page said: ‘The village is pretty active, it has a good parish council and some excellent workers. People really got behind us and supported the appeal and I think the lottery can see the community spirit there is here.’
He said the roof repair would include new insulation to improve the environment of the hall, new drainage and chimney stacks.
A local carpenter had also replaced the large Victorian windows.
‘We have been able to continue using the hall but I think had we not got the lottery money the hall would have fallen into disrepair before we could raise the £150,000 we needed, added David. ‘Now it is very much full steam ahead.’
Chairman of the project team Mike Carpenter said the work was due to start at the beginning of August and was expected to be completed by the end of September.
The village hall was previously the local school. When the school closed in 1950s it was purchased by a group of local people so that it could be retained as a local resource for residents in the parish.