VILLAGERS are nearing the final stages of a long campaign to set up a gleaming new state-of-the-art community hall.
The people of Bardon Mill have worked long and hard to set up the carbon-friendly hall built into the side of a hill on Redburn Park.
And after mounting a series of funding hurdles, they are now looking towards next month for a successful finale – with fingers firmly crossed.
For while the crucial decision on their bid for Stage Three Lottery funding will come in April, the community is also setting about raising a further £5,000 to help reach the final £504,000 target.
If it comes off, it will spell the culmination of a four-year project to build the new hall on the site of the former Bardon Mill Colliery, which closed 38 years ago.
Fifty volunteers have supported the specially-constituted Bardon Mill and Henshaw Village Hall and Community Projects Group.
The group’s vice-chairman Dorothy Welsh said yesterday: “We have raised £157,000 in match-funding and we have put the Stage Three bid in to the Lottery.
“Before that there was £138,167 in grants, and we have come through to this point with a real team effort.
“We will get to know if the Stage Three bid is successful next month, and in the meantime we have to raise £5,000 independently in the village.
“We are on track, but it does depend on the success of the bid next month.
“If all goes well, we are ready to go, we hope to build over the summer months, and we would then be open by September.”
While the community appeal to raise the £5,000 gets under way, volunteers have been preparing the ground with the Woodland Project – getting derelict woodland adjacent to the site in trim for the future.
Group chairman Liz Stokoe said: “It looks brilliant, just fantastic – there’s a lot of work gone into it. The work done there will make it look even more special.
“Our volunteers have cleared all the dead wood and are replacing shrubs to make it look really nice.”
Designed by award-winning Newton Architects of Ryton, the village hall will feature solar panels and top-grade insulation. The entrance will resemble the old colliery gateway and have a “living” meadow-turf roof.