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Village clean-up lifts community spirits

PUBLISHED: 11:00 15 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:50 02 July 2010

Clean up time in Lingwood.

Clean up time in Lingwood.

Stephen Pullinger

More than 30 people from Lingwood, near Acle, took part in a grand community clear up to celebrate the turnaround in fortunes of their village hall.

More than 30 residents in Lingwood, near Acle, took part in a grand community clear up to celebrate the turnaround in fortunes of their village hall.

The volunteers, ranging in age from tots to pensioners, cleared litter from outside the hall, carried out a thorough spring clean inside and repaired car park pot-holes. They also cleared the land around a recently-installed youth shelter.

Staging the event on Saturday was part of a deal struck when Broadland District Council handed the village hall committee a £16,000 grant to decorate the building and improve internal fittings.

The money - part of a sum of £95,000 recovered from criminals and distributed across the county - had been given to the council by the Norfolk Criminal Justice Board under its community cashback scheme.

Thanking the volunteers, who were given a voucher for free entry to the Lingwood family fun day later this year, Ben Bethell, parish councillor and chairman of the hall committee, said: “The revitalised committee has worked incredibly hard to make the hall a more valued part of community life. Undoubtedly we have made significant progress in the last year and we'll keep pushing to keep things moving forwards.”

Problems of vandalism had waned and the hall was now being used by all kinds of new groups, from a Scalextric club, attracting more than 20 racers, to tiny tots and a new dance class. There was now strong support to start a table tennis club.

In the longer term, Mr Bethell said they had plans to sell the current hall site for housing and buy a nearby plot for a new sports and social club.

Villagers had been told about the vision in a recent newsletter, he added.

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