Campaign to save Stokesby community centre gets underway
- Credit: James Bass
For more than 130 years it has stood at the heart of the village, providing an educational and sociable hub.
But the decades have taken their toll on Stokesby's historic community centre and villagers have now banded together to ensure it can stand for another 130 years.
They have launched a campaign to raise £35,000 to repair its wooden floor and original roof, which has not been replaced since the 1800s, and overhaul the kitchen. The money will also be used to refurbish the centre, which has suffered water damage due to its leaky roof.
Volunteer fundraiser Janis Austin said the building was well-used and well-loved and villagers were keen to maintain its original features.
'It's open as a social club every Friday night, we have things like stretch and tone in there, it's used by the young farmers and it's a meeting place for the parish council. Stokesby is a really sociable and active village and so we do a lot in there,' she added.
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'It hasn't changed a great deal. It's still got the bell tower on the roof and that's one of the things that also has to be rebuilt and replaced. We want to maintain the history. We could have sold it as a residential development and then built a new village hall, if we had gone down that route it probably would have been easier to raise a lot more money. But we discussed the possibility and everybody said no, it's the heart of the village and the heritage and we want to keep it.'
Residents have already managed to secure £10,000 from the Big Lottery Awards For All scheme, £5,000 from the Foyle Foundation and £4,000 from the Geoffrey Watling charity. And they have raised £7,000 themselves through fetes, table top sales, music nights and other fundraisers.
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Their total so far gives them enough to start repairing the roof. But Ms Austin said more work is needed inside.
She said: 'We're continuing to fundraise for the interior because we've had water running down the walls, £25,000 is the minimum for the roof and we won't know exactly how much it's going to cost until they take it off and reveal the damage underneath.
'There's always hidden extras.'
Events are now in the pipeline to boost the total including the Broads Music Festival being held on Filby playing field on August 23 from 2-11pm.
? Anyone who would like to make a donation, or has a fundraising suggestion, should call Ms Austin on 01493 750333.
Do you have a story about saving a historic building? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.