Arksey church hall coming back to the community with Banks Renewables grant support
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For the last few years, the hall that sits alongside the historic All Saints Church Arksey near Doncaster was being leased as a tea room, but during the Covid 19 pandemic, it fell into a state of disrepair and the tenants ceased trading.
The hall, which was built around 1930, had to be taken out of commission due to a leaking roof and other structural problems.
A local consultation carried out by the Parochial Church Council on how residents saw its future found a substantial majority in favour of retaining what is the village’s only large community building.
With this in mind, the PCC began to work towards raising the money needed to carry out the required repairs – and a £5,800 grant from the Banks Community Fund then allowed for local firm A J Wiffen & Son to be commissioned to complete the repair work required.
Work on painting the building exterior, repairing the bathroom floors and decorating the first interior walls has been completed, with repairs to the damaged roof areas then following.
The remainder of the building interior is now being redecorated and repairs to the kitchen and main hall are being carried out, with everything hopefully being finished before the end of the year.
All Saints Church in Arksey is a Grade I listed building that dates back around 900 years and features on Historic England’s National Heritage List For England, the official database of the country’s protected heritage assets.
All Saints PCC treasurer Anne Renney said: “The church hall is the only community building in the village and was very well used in the past for lots of different events, but the damage we uncovered through the building was quite substantial and meant that it simply wasn’t usable anymore.
“There was a real question mark over its future, but the overwhelmingly positive response we got from our village survey made us determined to put things right.
“We had lots of local people volunteering to get involved with the repair work and we tried to get as much work done as possible during the warmer summer months, so that everything would hopefully be ready by the end of the year.
“Banks’ generous support saved us a lot of fundraising time and effort, and also meant that we could avoid risking further costly weather damage by protecting the building before the bad weather arrived.”
The Banks Group operates the Marr Wind Farm, which sits to the west of Doncaster near junction 37 of the A1(M), and is currently looking for permission to extend the lifespan of the four-turbine scheme by 15 years, to 40 years’ duration.
Jamilah Hassan, community relations manager at The Banks Group, added: “Buildings like the Arksey church hall are at the very centre of community life and their importance is often only recognised once they’re lost.
“The determination of local people to bring the hall back to life is really impressive and we’re very pleased to have been part of helping the PCC put their plans into action.”