A FOUR-YEAR fundraising programme is finally over for Holford and District Village Hall.

The 40-year-old community building in the Quantocks village has started on a £565,000 upgrade with the modernised and expanded building due to open next spring.

Initial activity started on the site on Wednesday evening (September 5) when local residents, officials and sponsors joined the builders - Taunton-based Qube - and members of the Holford youth karate group for a ‘turf cutting ceremony’.

Our whole aim has been to create a community building that is fit for the future,” said village hall chairman Alan Falkingham.

“So it made sense for us to have some of our youngest people lead the celebrations.”

Local residents have chipped in to reach the target, with the majority of funding coming from the Big Lottery Fund, the European Social Fund, EDF Community Impact Mitigation (CIM) funding and Viridor credits.

Significant contributions were also donated by the Trusthouse Charitable Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation and Holford Parish Council.

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“It has been a real rollercoaster journey but we are so appreciative of everyone who has helped us get here.”

Creating a bigger and more flexible local facility had become a priority for the people of Holford, Alan says.

“We have a lot of elderly people and a lot of youngsters who need a place for activities in the village - especially at a time when public transport is so under pressure,” Mr Falkingham said.

Mr Falkingham said the village also wanted to be able to provide a facility to help cater for new families moving to the area because of Hinkley.

“The hall is 40 years old and was going to need a makeover in the near future at any rate,” Mr Falkingham said.

“We knew the CIM fund was only available for a limited period so we decided to press ahead.

Once complete, the venue will offer an extended, well-insulated building with a new roof, a large hall, green room facilities, a meeting room, modern kitchen and new toilet facilities.

The car park is being extended and will be shared with Holford Cricket Club so people no longer have to park on the verge.