AFTER ten years of saving and fundraising, a 'almost unusable' village hall is in for a £200K refurbishment.

Villagers of Thurloxton are celebrating after work finally got underway on March 11.

The work, which is expected to take six months to complete, follows two years of grant applications.

Alastair Wallace, chairman of the village hall committee, said: "Thurloxton Village Hall is a much loved and well used facility for local residents of all ages.

"It serves the communities of Thurloxton, Adsborough, Coombe, Clavelshay, Farringdon and Shearston, and is the primary meeting place for both St Giles Church which has no hall of its own and the parish council.

"Built in the 1860s as the local primary school with an annexe added in the 1980s, the hall has deteriorated badly over the years despite ongoing maintenance and is almost unusable.

"The heating system is old and unreliable, the roof leaks after rain, and there is no adequate insulation in any part of the building. The kitchen is cramped, and the walls are running with damp so that crockery and utensils become mouldy and have to be hand washed before use. The toilets are wholly unfit for disabled visitors."

Determined to raise the money, the committee approached the Community Council for Somerset for advice on grants. They were told they would have to prove there was a local need for the hall.

Mr Wallace added: "With their help, and a generous grant from the Big Lottery’s Awards for All, we conducted a survey in early 2017 of more than 160 households representing about 350 residents, all well as our regular user groups across the villages.

"With a very high response-rate, the message was clear that the local community wanted to preserve and refurbish the hall and they would support it."

The project will see the insulation and refurbishment of the main hall, demolition of the flat-roofed annexe and toilets, and its replacement under a pitched roof with a new and enlarged kitchen, and toilets suitable for general and disabled users as well as baby changing facilities. Wi-fi as well as a hearing loop and basic audio-visual equipment will also be installed.