Village hall set to close through lack of usage

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A piece of history could disappear from Whaplode St Catherine later this year with the closure of its Memorial Hall.

Members of the hall’s management committee blame a lack of usage and the cost of repairing its leaking roof, heating system and toilets for its intention to close its doors for good, possibly as soon as the summer.

The hall was built in the 1940s and used as a venue for events, including bingo nights, whist drives, parties and summer fetes.

But it is only used now by a weekly hobby club, a fortnightly coffee morning and a post office used by elderly villagers.

Ray Rye, chairman of the management committee, said: “We’re looking at shutting the Memorial Hall towards the end of year because of lack of usage and finances.

“Last year, the committee decided to give it 12 months to see if things improved but we’ve worked out the budget and we can’t find a way of saving the hall.

“If there’s a possibility of someone buying it and the money going towards the village, that would be good.

“But with the economic climate as it is, people are looking at their pockets and the state of the building outweighs what we’ve got to spend on it.”

Mr Rye and his wife Mandy, secretary/treasurer of the management committee, confirmed the cost of roof repairs alone would be at least £2,500.

She added: “We can’t take bookings because of the leaking roof, the men’s toilets need refurbishing and the heating is inadequate.

“The bingo nights ended last year because of a lack of support and as a committee, we don’t know what to do next.

“We’ve put posters up round the village publicising dances, quiz nights and social events.

“But nobody has responded and there aren’t enough funds to get the hall up and running again.”

South Holland District Council member for Whaplode, Coun Malcolm Chandler, said: “I believe village halls are the lifeblood of rural communities and if there’s something we can do to help, they should really get in touch with us.”