Big Lottery Fund awards almost £6m to 20 community projects in England

A village hall restoration scheme in Lindisfarne has been awarded £500,000, the largest individual amount from the BLF's Reaching Communities programme

A model of the village hall in Lindisfarne
A model of the village hall in Lindisfarne

The Big Lottery Fund has awarded a share of just under £6m to 20 community projects in England.

The projects, including four new village halls, have been awarded grants this month from the BLF’s Reaching Communities programme, the funder announced today.

The programme, which has been running since 2006 and will have awarded £1bn to community and voluntary sector organisations by spring 2014, gives grants of more than £10,000 to projects that help people and communities most in need.

A scheme to rebuild a village hall on the holy island of Lindisfarne, which is located just off the coast of Northumberland and is accessible only by means of a tidal causeway, was awarded £500,000, the largest individual amount.

The old village hall, which was demolished in 2007, had been used for a range of activities, from a knitting circle and art classes to keep-fit clubs and boxing sessions. These groups are expected to return to the hall, along with a book exchange, a health clinic, a youth club and an older people’s club.

Local organisations, including the parish council, the Fishermen’s Society, the Holy Island Development Forum and Development Trust and the Women’s Institute, will also use the hall. Lindisfarne has a population of about 160.

Other winners include Bothel Village Hall in Allerdale, Cumbria, which will receive £473,000 to build a new village hall and improve its range of facilities, services and activities to create a community hub.

Four mining villages in Gloucestershire have been awarded a grant of £482,044 to provide a new community centre, which will focus on learning, health and wellbeing activities.

The Stalisfield Village Hall Trust, in Faversham, Kent, has also been awarded £307,161 to build a new village hall.

Nat Sloane, chair of BLF England, said: "A community hall is often an essential ingredient to community life. It can help reduce isolation by providing opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to interact and learn from new and positive experiences."

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