ON Saturday the culmination of four years work came to fruition when the trustees of Abbotskerswell Village Hall officially opened the new kitchen and store extension with the help of local MP, Anne Marie Morris.

In 2018 the trustees decided that it was time to update the kitchen facilities in the hall and increase the store cupboard by building a new extension to the rear of the hall.

‘Project Heat’ was born and a sub-committee was formed from the trustees to deliver the project, members of which include an architect, property developer, caterer and businesswoman, plus input from a village resident who is a professional chef.

Once the outline plans were drawn up and approved, the project team were successful in obtaining government grants to finance the build via the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) which distributes monies via Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE).

Devon Communities Together’s village hall advisor Martin Rich gave advice and guidance in completing grant applications which was crucial to the team being successful in securing funding.

Chairman of Abbotskerswell Village Hall Trustees, Barry Hedger, said: ‘We are very grateful to DEFRA, ACRE and Devon Communities Together for helping us to complete this project, and to Cllrs Alistair Dewhurst and Mary Colclough for donations from their personal Councillors Funds and to all the many donations from individuals, local businesses and organisations within Abbotskerswell who have helped us to raise funds.’

Barry added: ‘Due to Covid the suppliers involved in this project faced some challenging times trying to handle disruptions due to lockdowns, social distancing, shortages of materials and costs constantly changing.

‘We are grateful to all of our electricians, plumbers, painters and decorators, and especially to local commercial catering specialists COMCAT who have fitted the kitchen to the highest level of professional standards.’

Anne Marie Morris MP opened the new facilities by saying that Project Heat is a true example of a community project coming together, and congratulations to all involved.

For more information about Abbotskerswell Village Hall, its facilities and hire costs visit the website: http://www.abbotskerswellvillagehall.com