Cowbit Village Hall secures £10,000 grant from National Lottery Community Fund for improvements
Plans to cement Cowbit Village Hall's place at the heart of the community have been strengthened with a £10,000 grant towards further improvements.
Work on two new disabled parking bays, storage sheds and improved drainage can now go ahead at the village hall, off Barrier Bank, after a successful application to the National Lottery Community Fund.
It is the third time within the last 15 years that village hall committee members have secured lottery cash after they were awarded £4,000 in July 2006 for a new kitchen and cooker.
The committee were successful again in August 2010 when they were given £10,000 to refurbish the toilets at the village hall which opened in 1988.
Darren Harper, village hall committee chairman, said: "The cost of this project is over £10,000 which covers the cost of digging the foundations, then building the disabled parking bays and the sheds.
"The disabled parking bays aren't just for people with wheelchairs, but users of mobility scooters as well.
"We also have some old sheds that will be replaced wooden storage cabinets where groups who use the hall will be able to store their equipment.
"The lottery money will pay for a major part of this work and plans can now move forward for it to start in the next few weeks, with the hope that it will be completed by the end of the summer."
Among the groups who use the village hall and will benefit from the improvements are a Tiny Tots group, Cowbit Rainbows and Brownies, a meditation class, mobile post office and Cowbit St Mary's Primary School.
Darren said: "When the coronavirus lockdown happened in March, everything was completely shut down and the hall was unavailable for any group, in line with government guidance.
"When children went back to school last month, one of the requests we got from teachers at Cowbit St Mary's was for extra space which allowed them to spread their pupils out around the school itself.
"All their lunches were eaten at the village so there was no cross-contamination and the school was generous in giving us some money towards the running costs of the village hall.
"With the money we were able to provide some sanitisation equipment to keep the hall hygienic, while the school also paid for the cleaning of it which meant there was no extra cost for the committee."
As reported in our sister newspaper, the Lincolnshire Free Press, on Tuesday, village hall committees and trustees across South Holland have still had to pay gas, electricity and other utility bills, despite the temporary loss of income from bookings caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Darren said: "We were able to apply for a rebate on our business rates and suspend our cleaning contractor so that nothing had to be paid out.
"We're now at the phase of looking at social distancing and extra cleaning, as well as a test and tracesystem, to see ifsome of our regular hirers would like to start meeting at the village hall from early August onwards.
"The car park project is part of a wider scheme to improve the facilities and look at the front of the hall which includes extra lighting, bigger and secure storage and improved facilities for disabled visitors."