Open day to showcase plans to convert derelict hall into community hub

Poringland Village Hall has had plan submitted to be demolished and rebuilt.Byline: Sonya DuncanCopy

The derelict Poringland Village Hall - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A community near Norwich is rallying together in the hope of converting a "very dilapidated" village hall into a multi-purpose venue for various groups to use.

All Saints' Church in Poringland are the trustees of the building, which is over 100-years-old, and have secured planning permission from South Norfolk District Council to convert the site. 

But the church will need to fundraise £1.7m in order to begin the work with £400,000 raised so far. 

Revd Robert Parsonage said: "It is a very old building which has seen better days and is very expensive and difficult to maintain. 

"We were having to turn people away as there was nothing there but we hope to replace the hall with a community hub.

Poringland Village Hall has had plan submitted to be demolished and rebuilt. The Rev'd Robert Parson

The Revd Robert Parsonage outside the derelict Poringland Village Hall - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"We are ready to get going. If one big donor comes along with a cheque for £1.4m we would be able to do the work straightaway."

Villagers are being invited to attend an open day in July, which is being organised by Fiona Hall, in which the trustees will showcase the scheme and look to attract supporters, donors and sponsors. 

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Once the fundraising target is reached, the new community hub would be let out for various groups to use. 

A reception area with a welcome desk and coffee stop, as well as a dedicated facility for children's playgroups and after-school activities have also been envisaged for the new All Saints' Centre.

The church would also make use of the venue for its coffee group for those who are lonely or bereaved with 15 to 20 people usually attending the sessions. 

Revd Parsonage said: "Coming out of the final lockdown, we are getting even more requests and the hall has been operating all the way through Covid. We used it as play group for essential workers." 

The village hall is said to have once served as military barracks before being relocated to the village in 1919, and then expanded in 1939.

Since then, the building, located at the junction of The Street and The Footpath, has been used as a surgery, a youth club, a polling station and even a wedding venue.

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