Hall renovation halfway to target thanks to Government grant


Refurbishment of the 70-year-old hall can get underway thanks to a £264,000 award

Chittlehampton has been awarded more than half the money it needs to renovate and refurbish its ageing village hall thanks to a Government grant. The hall has received £264,510 from the Community Ownership Fund, administered by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

North Devon MP Selaine Saxby recently met the hall team, including trustee Keith Routledge and district councillor Sue Whitehead to congratulate them on a successful bid.

Ms Saxby wrote to the department back in August to add her endorsement to the bid.

The hall was built more than 70 years ago and is in desperate need of renovation and renewal.

The Community Ownership Fund money is more than half of what is needed to renovate the village hall building by replacing the asbestos roof, cladding the walls, renovating the old school kitchen, replacing doors, windows, the fire and heating systems.

“Fantastic news that Chittlehampton Village Hall has received £264,510 from the Community Ownership Fund and it was great to congratulate the team who have worked so hard to secure this large grant”.

“I wholeheartedly endorsed this project back in August and wrote in support of the bid and it is a lovely early Christmas present for the community”.

“I fully support the community’s plan to upgrade the building to modern safety standards, which will ensure that it is both energy efficient and sustainable for the future”.

“These improvements will secure the Hall’s future viability as a community asset and having taught aerobics in village halls for over a decade I know first hand the diverse uses village halls fill in remote rural communities”.

The Community Ownership Fund allows unsuccessful applicants to bid again. The fund is running until March 2025 with regular bidding windows – the latest window is open now and closes on January 31, but expressions of interest can be made all year around.

Trustee Keith Routledge added: “Thank you Selaine for your support. This is a major step forward in our funding plans, but it is only the first step.

“This will resolve the most urgent problems, but we need more funding to renovate the interior, which is not in good shape, so we shall continue fund raising and applying for further funding applications. However this result will give a great lift to the community which is what it’s all about”.

“We are currently seeking further avenues of funding and would welcome any private or business donors interested in working with the Hall to help us on our way.”

North Devon Council leader Ian Roome also welcomed the new and said he and the council had been putting pressure on the Government to bring more Levelling Up funding to North Devon.

Mr Roome said: “This is excellent news for Chittlehampton’s Village Hall. I’ve been pushing for funding to help this isolated rural community since I became the leader of the council. The community’s plans for the hall are well thought out and deserve our support. The hope is these vital improvements will secure the village hall’s future for years to come.

“Community spirit is alive and well in Chittlehampton and this investment will make a huge difference. It is one of many villages in North Devon struggling to keep up with the pressures of the modern world. North Devon Council and I will keep fighting for the area’s villages.”