Halls receive grants from Big Lottery Fund

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LOCAL community organisations will be able to carry out energy saving improvements to its community hall thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Fund.

They have been awarded large grants totalling over £55,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Energy Efficient Venues programme to carry out a range of improvements to their hall so they can cut down on their heating and energy costs.

Ballynabraggett LOL 14, located on the Ballynabraggett Road near Donaghcloney, has been awarded a grant of £25,470 to carry out a range of improvement to make their hall more energy efficient including replacing the central heating system, insulating the ceiling, floor and walls, and replacing the external doors and the existing light fittings.

An organisation spokesperson explained that the money the groups saves by making the improvements will go back into the upkeep of the hall and running the activities and events they offer the local community.

“Our hall is based in the small rural townland of Ballynabraggett, a farming community near Donaghcloney,” he explained. “Apart from the local church, this is the only community venue in the area and it’s used by local people for a range of events and activities.

“We hold regular meetings, music celebrations and birthday parties in the hall and there’s also music practice run there as summer approaches, while we also hold an annual vintage vehicle evening which is very popular with many people in the area.

“Our hall is well looked after, but it dates all the way back to 1905 and age has take its toll. The walls are a bit damp and it takes a while to heat up, the same as any hall of this age.

“The improvements will mean the hall will be a lot warmer and more comfortable for local people who use it and it will be a lot more cost effective. We will be able to reduce our heating and electricity costs, and the money we save will go back into the range of services we offer local people.”

He continued: “We are also going to ask local people what new activities they would like us to run in the future, so we might be running things like history talks and dancing. This means a lot to the community and we are so grateful for the funding. It will make a huge difference.”

Drumnavaddy LOL 519 has been awarded £29,579 to carry out a number of improvements including installing a condensing boiler and fuel storage with new radiators and insulated pipe-work, putting in double glazed windows and door, insulating the walls, roof and floor, and installing energy efficient lighting, a water heater and a wood burning stove.

“We are based in the rural townland of Drumavaddy, about three miles from Banbridge,” explained Chairman Samuel Dowds. “The hall is nearly 100 years old and it was built with single walls so there’s no cavity insulation, while the ceilings are very high and it’s hard to heat.

“We have been using gas heaters to heat the place and they are really expensive, especially in the winter, and there have been times when we’ve had to cancel meetings because it’s been so cold.

“But these improvements will make the hall warm and comfortable for the local community to use. The money we saved on heating especially will be used to buy new equipment so we can run activities that encourage young people to come along such as a dart board and pool table, while we’ll also be able to offer more events for the adult population such as bingo nights and community events. “

To find about more about the Energy Efficient Venues programme visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk, or call the Big Lottery Fund’s Information and Events team on 028 9055 1455.