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Village Hall Project gets underway...

Much is happening in connection with the Public Room project. A lot of people have very kindly volunteered to assist. A meeting of these has generated lots of ideas and suggestions. Instead of a small "committee" we are trying to involve as many people as possible working on specific aspects.

The next meeting of the full group is on 18 April. There is still plenty of chance for anyone, whatever your skills and interests, to get involved with this major project to improve a vital village facility - contact Trevor Roberts.

Grant application for feasibility study
An application has just been made to the National Lottery Awards for All scheme to finance a feasibility study. If this is successful we will be commissioning architects to draw up detailed plans to form the basis of a full scale funding bid. We should hear if this has been successful within two months.

Brief for the architects
The brief for the scheme needs to reflect what the community wants and to take on board the requirements of all potential users, now and into the future. This is being drawn up by Jon Trotman and Trevor Roberts.

Community fund raising
Although the intention is that funding of any renovation will come from grants, it is certain that we will need to raise some funds locally. The Action Group meeting has set a target of £15000 over two years. This has to be in addition to anything we get from full scale grant applications; over and above the "normal" Public Room fundraising, which will have to continue as usual; and must not get in the way of the traditional fund raising activities of existing village organisations. This is a tough challenge, and we are currently collecting ideas. This aspect is in the hands of Dot Benson, Madeleine Singleton, Sandra Hewitson, Carolyn Cripps and Pat Knifton.

Contacting other villages
Several villages in Cumbria have renovated their halls. We intend to learn from their experience and pick up ideas to use in Threlkeld. This is being handled by Guy Duxbury assisted by Eileen and Herbert Witherington.

Getting information from local organisations
This is absolutely vital. If organisations do not stir themselves NOW to provide us with details of their requirements and evidence of the use they make of the Public Room (including future plans), our application for funding will not succeed. A general appeal for information was made in last month's Beneath Blencathra - but all organisations will be now approached directly by Steven Oldfield and Ron Horne. This is very important.

Getting firm evidence of need for the facility
This is absolutely essential if we are to have a strong case for funding. Fortunately other discussions on implementing aspects of the Threlkeld Parish Plan have resulted in the Lake District National Park Authority agreeing to conduct a special pilot study of the village's services, facilities and economic activity. This is being financed from a Government initiative to invest in the "social infrastructure" of rural communities. This study (which we hope will be carried out in the next three months) will hopefully provide firm and independent evidence of the need for a top quality village hall. A small group of people are working jointly with the NPA on this project - Trevor Roberts, Alison Critchlow, Carolyn Cripps, Barry Carling, Tim Foster.

Part of the publicity effort is to establish a brand new, interactive community website. The Parish Council has just endorsed the establishment of this. It is being developed by Steve and Caroline Dobbins. Full details of this will be in next month's Beneath Blencathra.

Business planning/commercial uses
Specific uses which might have a commercial dimension are being looked at to assess how they might contribute financially to the running of a revitalised village hall - these include a coffee shop/gallery, a pre-school playgroup, a mini-gym and camping barn. Jane Roberts, Sue Foster and Jo Alberti are handling this.

The intention is to involve a lot of people in this project to make sure it maintains momentum and reflects what the village needs. This means a lot of information has to be circulated to keep volunteers up to date. This is being handled by John Knifton and Kevin Robson.

The existing Public Room
All this exciting stuff must not detract from the efforts to run the Public Room on its existing basis - bookings, cleaning, maintenance, fundraising through teas and whist drives etc, organising the bonfire and so on. This is being mainly handled by Diane and Trevor Robson, Sylvia Tuer, Roger Bragg and Carolyn Cripps.

If you need any information or to contact any of the above email the website to get in touch.

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