Volunteers strive to create community hub in Essex village

VOLUNTEERS in Barnston are hoping to inject more life into the village by providing a hub for the community.

The village hall committee is in the preliminary stages of a scheme to expand the facility to provide more things to do in Barnston.

Secretary of the committee Sue Bibb told the Broadcast that “there is nothing” in Barnston for people who cannot drive.

“We want it to become the hub of the community as there is nothing to do in Barnston - we haven’t even got a local shop anymore,” she said.

“Despite the lack of amenities there is a great community spirit. This showed when we threw an impromptu street party for the royal wedding and we had lots of people out, not just the same faces.”

Mrs Bibb explained that the scheme has been drawn up in two phases: refurbishment and expansion. The first stage is to install disabled toilets and, if they can secure the money, to extend the hall to include another function room.

“We want the village hall to be for the whole community. It is currently used by all sorts of groups but we have had to turn people away because the hall is limited in what it can hold,” she said.

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The plan to develop the hall is only in its infancy but Mrs Bibb estimated that the committee would need to raise �100,000.

“It is still a pipeline dream at the moment but something like this would be fantastic for Barnston.”

The dream is being driven by the new hall committee which is comprised of volunteers from the village.

“The village hall committee has been around for years but all of the previous members, bar one, have moved on and new people have replaced them in the past couple of years,” said Mrs Bibb. “This means we are looking at the hall with fresh eyes and new ideas.”

The committee is always looking for new ideas and volunteers.

Fundraising begins on Saturday December 10 with a quiz night in the hall from 7.30pm.

Tickets, at �10, are available from Mrs Bibb on 07969 340021, e-mail: suebibb@yahoo.com or from David Roberts on 07867 829750, e-mail: david.roberts@uk.fujitsu.com.