Calls for cash injection for hall and play areas

Michael Scothern, with Laura Long, Blofield Preschool manager and Jacquelyn Griffith, a fundraiser for the hall

Michael Scothern, one of the volunteers for Margaret Harker Hall in Blofield, with Laura Long, Blofield Preschool manager (on the right) and Jacquelyn Griffith, who is a parent and helps fundraise for the hall and surrounding grounds - Credit: Michael Scothern

Urgent calls are being made for extra support to protect a 98-year-old hall and grounds for future generations.

Michael Scothern, 37, from Brundall, one of the volunteers behind Margaret Harker Hall in Yarmouth Road, Blofield, said a "financial injection" would help replace the rotten children's play areas outside, create improved tennis courts and fix parts of the main building.

He believes more financial support could come from Blofield Parish Council through Community Infrastructure Levy money from building developments in the village near the A47. 

Margaret Harker Hall in Yarmouth Road, Blofield

Margaret Harker Hall in Yarmouth Road, Blofield - Credit: Google

Blofield Parish Council said: "In 2021 the parish council offered to contribute £7,000 towards enhancing early years hall play equipment.

"This offer has not been taken up. It is disappointing the hall committee has not approached the council. The council contribute £3,600 per annum towards grounds maintenance.

"The council has been actively working with National Highways on behalf of the hall committee to obtain funding for play equipment as a consequence of A47 dualling.

"The council are happy to work with village halls and consider funding requests."

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Mr Scothern added the £7,000 would have to be match-funded by the hall committee which he said raises around £10,000 a year through hiring out the building and surrounding Blofield Memorial Grounds to groups including Blofield Preschool.

He said: "There is huge potential for the building."

The father-of-three said the main concern was replacing the two play areas adding: "They went in in 1989. Timbers are rotten and the floor is dangerous."

Margaret Harker Hall was given to Blofield parishioners by Major and Mrs Harker and first opened in November 1923. 

Jenny Cuthbert, chairwoman of the Margaret Harker Hall charity, said: "Most of the income is used to maintain the hall and grounds. There is little left to make significant improvements. 

"The committee is looking forward to working with volunteers to raise funds to bring the facilities up to a higher standard."

Laura Long, Blofield Preschool manager, said: "The smaller play area is in dire straights."

Green Party Broadland district councillor Eleanor Laming

Green Party Broadland councillor Eleanor Laming - Credit: Contributed

Eleanor Laming, Green Party councillor for Brundall on Broadland District Council, said: "If you have more housing you have to provide facilities."

A fun day in aid of hall funds is happening on the grounds on July 17 from 10am-4pm.