A five-year quest to modernise a North Yorkshire village hall and make it fit for modern use has been completed.
Rishi Sunak joined the villagers of Kirkby Fleetham, near Northallerton, to celebrate the completion of improvement works to their hall.
The most recent and final part of the upgrade included the installation of a new central heating system and internal insulation of walls and ceilings.
The project cost £27,000. Contributions came from The Big Lottery Fund, a number of charitable trusts, Hambleton District Council and the discretionary budget of North Yorkshire County Councillor Annabel Wilkinson.
Mr Sunak described the refurbished hall as a fabulous facility for the community. Addressing a gathering of villagers and the trustees in the spacious and light newly-decorated main room, he said: “This is a tremendous example of a community coming together to make something really special happen. This is a beautiful facility which I am sure will be valued by generations to come.”
Previously completed work has included an extension in which is housed a meeting room/community library and new toilet facilities.
There is also large, comprehensively-equipped kitchen with everything needed to wine and dine up to 80 guests. The hall trustees also raised money to create disabled access via a repaved and gravelled car park and walkways.
Villagers nows select from an extensive list of regular activities. Mr Sunak heard about a number of them as he chatted to everyone who came to enjoy the opening event.
Members of the community told him about their open-all-hours community library, ballroom dancing lessons, armchair cinema, range of keep fit opportunities and a luncheon club.
A rolling programme of one-off events included live theatre, visiting musicians and choirs, speakers, ploughman’s lunches, afternoon teas, craft fairs and, with the Kirkby Fleetham Feast committee, an annual firework display.
With free wi-fi and excellent projection facilities on offer, the hall can also be used as a conference venue, and now has a book-your-own-event-online facility.