AFTER five years of planning and fundraising, the team behind a grand plan to revamp Holford Village Hall is celebrating a landmark.

In the space of five days, the Holford and District Village Committee found that not only had they landed £207,000 from a Big Lottery Grant, but their application for £125,000 from EDF Energy was also were also recommended for approval.

This means they are more than halfway towards hitting their fundraising target of £551,000 and Alan Falkingham, chairman of the Village Hall committee, said he is delighted.

“The main aim of this project is simply to improve life for people who live round here,” Mr Falkingham said.

“At the moment every time there is an event here we have to take the tables and chairs off the stage and then stack them back up afterwards which is not suitable for the older people who run some of the events.”

A new retractable stage will be installed and the hall building will be extended to include more storage space, a new green room and meeting room, as well as improved toilet. The car park will be extended which will mean local cricket players will no longer need to park on a verge on the A39.

Alan has been working hard with fellow committee members Mo Young and Vanessa MacDonnell and Mo said people who use and have contributed to the hall also deserve credit.

“We have also had help from John Carter, an architect who lives in the village, and Phillip Brimson who has just stepped down as treasurer after 45 years on the village hall committee. The people who put on the coffee morning once a month here should also have credit – it usually raises around £250 a time,” Mrs Young said.

“They often say it is important for individuals to have aspirations but I think it is important for communities to have aspirations too.”

The grant from EDF is part of the Community Impact Mitigation Fund. This was set up as a condition of the company’s planning approval for site preparation work at Hinkley C to invest £7.2m in communities most affected.

“We have noticed the effects of Hinkley here. People move into the area to work and we welcome that and hopefully this Village Hall will be a place for them to enjoy,” Mr Falkingham added.