Users of a popular community facility in Northumberland will now be able to cook up even more tasty treats after a regional employer paid for a five-figure kitchen upgrade.
The committee at Ellington Village Hall had been looking for ways to improve the catering at the building as a way of encouraging more people to use the venue for events and minimise the chances of accidents happening in what was a very small space.
An £11,100 grant from the Banks Group via its Banks Community Fund enabled the volunteer-run organisation to pay for a kitchen extension to be built, as well as for the existing area to be improved.
Two ovens, a fridge, a microwave, a cooker and a boiling water tap have all been installed in the new kitchen, with local contractor David Tweddle being awarded the contract to carry out the building work.
And after holding a launch event to show local residents the improvements and thank all those who helped with the project, the committee is hoping to see more functions and events taking place in the village hall.
Originally built in the 1830s, it was brought back to life in 2009 by a group of dedicated local volunteers after falling into disrepair. It is now used by about 150 people every week.
Maureen Hall, committee secretary at Ellington Village Hall, said: “Whilst the hall has been well-used in recent years, the size of the kitchen was always a problem – for example, when the oven door was down, you could barely get past it – and we knew we needed to make things much better if we wanted to attract more people.
“Taking on this project required a lot of work, and the generous funding provided by the Banks Group has saved us a huge amount of time and fund-raising effort.
“The response we’ve had to the new kitchen has been terrific.
“It looks fantastic and has everything that anyone could ever need for their events, so we hope to see even more people and groups choosing to hold their events with us.”
Current activities hosted at the Lynemouth Road venue include Brownies, toddler groups, a dance club, ukulele classes, a Weight Watchers group and twice-weekly lunches for older local residents.
The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks Group projects.
Anyone interested in applying for funding should call James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 3786342 to check if their group or project is eligible.