AN historic village hall has been saved after delighted community leaders secured thousands of pounds in Lottery cash.
Councillors and residents in Singleton have battled for two years to secure the £345,969 needed to revamp the dilapidated hall and turn it back into a community hub.
And today the euphoric team behind the project finally got their hands on the cash they need to transform the building after the Big Lottery Fund gave their bid the thumbs-up.
Coun Maxine Chew, who has led the bid alongside parish councillor Bob Gallagher and the hall committee, said: “It’s a lot of money and I know now what the word euphoric means.
“It’s a combination of excitement about what it’s going to bring and relief.
“Village halls are central to the community, particularly in Singleton where we have a fragmented community.
“The money is going to make a huge difference.”
Singleton village has twice been rejected for Lottery cash in the past and the plan now is to use the money to completely refurbish the hall, which currently has no insulation, collapsed drains and asbestos walls.
A new heating system will be installed to make sure activities can continue in the hall during the winter, there will be new walls, roof and ceiling and the internal layout will be re-designed to create a new kitchen, meeting room, and bar and servery.
It is hoped work to empty the hall will start in March, with all the building work completed in time for the summer.
Coun Chew added: “The main thrust of our argument as to why we needed the money was to offer some relief to the younger people from social isolation.
“It will give them somewhere to meet and also the older people, because in Singleton about 60 per cent of the population is over-55.
“That is why this hall is so essential.
“Without Singleton village hall the village and the neighbouring villages of Little Eccleston with Larbreck, Greenhalgh, Thistleton and Hardhorn would have nothing.”
It is hoped around 150 residents will benefit from new activities staged in the hall as a direct result of the grant, with plans for fitness meetings, sports clubs, IT courses and youth groups to use the improved facilities.
The grant is the biggest handed to any North West project in this round of funding.
Helen Bullough, Big Lottery Fund head of North West region said: “National Lottery funding doesn’t just help large organisations but makes a huge difference to projects run by a handful of people.”