Eighty years after the need for a village hall for Grewelthorpe was first mooted, one has finally been created.
More than £500,000 has been spent converting the village’s former Methodist Chapel – which closed in 2004 – to a community venue which was officially opened by farmer and parish councillor Mark Exelby, who is chairman of the Grewelthorpe Village Hall and Community Centre, in front of more than 120 villagers and invited guests.
“After so much hard work by so many people in the village and further afield, it is a dream come true to see our new village hall open,” said Coun Exelby, who discovered old parish minutes from the 1930s in which councillors talked about the need for a village hall.
“Grewelthorpe is such a special village and we now have a very special place in which residents and visitors alike can come together.”
The initial opening weekend saw many more people visit the community cafe, which is intended to be the hub of activity in the hall, and take part in a range of taster activities and a children’s cinema.
Coinciding with the opening is a heritage exhibition, and there is also a work of art on show by Grewelthorpe artist Gill Wicks who has created a cross as well as lights out of the chapel’s old organ pipes and stops.
The conversion of the chapel to the village hall has been paid for with a £440,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund, a donation of £70,000 from the Methodist Church which has also leased out the venue on a cheap rent, a £20,000 grant from Yorventure which paid for a commercial standard kitchen and lift for disabled people, and concerted fund raising from local people.
The hall has also been awarded £1,290 by Yorkshire Building Society to support the installation of a hearing loop.
Lauren Halmonroyd, branch manager of Yorkshire Building Society in Ripon, and customer consultant Emma Dunn have visited the hall to present the money and see how the work on the hearing loop was progressing.