Hub of village ‘must be maintained’
By Laura Squires
Villagers are celebrating after receiving thousands of pounds to help fund much needed refurbishments to a vital village community.
Helmdon Reading Room is an attractive Victorian building used as a village hall.
It is the social, cultural and educational heart of Helmdon but is in desperate need of a revamp.
Residents have just received an Awards for All Lottery grant of £9,868 which was secured specifically for the installation of new lighting, a new fire alarm and a PA system at the hall.
They need to raise £30,000 to complete all necessary work but have already been given a grant of £1,000 from Northamptonshire County Council and have raised £5,500 by fund raising in the village. A recent Indian meal and dancing event raised £273.
Caroline King, former secretary of the Helmdon Reading Room general management committee said: 'The Reading Room is a Victorian building and because it’s so old a lot needs to be done to it constantly.
‘We really want to maintain it because it’s the heart of our village. Without it we would be stuck. We’re a very sociable village and everything happens in the Reading Room. We have a visiting post office, clubs, parties, quizzes, and all sorts of things.
‘Fourteen different organisations use it regularly, including the pre-school. It’s essential that we keep it. Committee chairman Bill England really got the fundraising idea up and running. He’s a fantastic chairman and he’s very committed.’
The Lottery cash boost means that the next phase in the refurbishment of the hall can now go ahead, with work starting in mid-July and expected to be finished by September.
Villagers hope the majority of the work will be done by Christmas with the final details completed by this time next year.
A tea dance is being held on Saturday, June 26, in aid of the refurbishment campaign. It takes place at the Reading Room between 3.30 pm and 5.30 pm and costs £4 per ticket.
Tickets are available from the Bungalow Stores or The Bell Inn in the village.
Alternatively to buy tickets or find out more about the campaign, call Caroline King on 01295 768695
Banbury Guardian - 27 May, 2010