Villagers have received a huge boost to their £70,000 project to transform a church tower into a much needed community meeting space.
For fours years, residents in Lackford have been raising funds to turn the church’s tower into a meeting room as well as provide new toilets and a kitchenette.
They have already raised a large sum towards the project and have now received a number of grants from St Edmundsbury Borough Council and other partners.
They include £10,000 from the borough council’s Initative Grant Scheme, £1,000 from the locality budget of St Edmundsbury Cllr Susan Glossop and £2,000 from the locality budet of Suffolk County Cllr Beccy Hopfensperger.
Colin Smith, a project coordinator, said: “We are really grateful to all who have put funding into this project, in particular the support we have had from our borough and county councillors.
“They have not only donated from their locality budgets, but have directed us to other organisations that have contributed so generously and enabled us to reach our target.”
Despite hiting their target, Mr Smith and his fellow coordinators continue to fund raise. “We are not letting up and we are currently designing a calendar of the local area which will raise money for further improvements.”
Other organisations supporting the project include the Big Lottery Fund Awards for All, the Ganzoni Trust, All Churches Trust, Suffolk Historic Churches Trist, Garfield Weston Foundation, Havebury Housing Partnership, Dulverton Fund, Suffolk Community Foundation and The Foyle Foundation.
Cllr Susan Glossop believes the project will enhance the sense of village’s community spirit. She said: “Although it has had no natural place to meet all year around, the village is thriving – as well as the men’s group there is a group specifically for the older members of the community, study groups, coffee mornings. All these activities and more can only increase now that they will have somewhere to meet.”
Cllr Beccy Hopfensperger added: “Local residents have united behind this project to make it happen and these new facilities will serve to feed that need, providing more opportunities, more social activities and if possible, an even stronger sense of community.”
Building work is expected to start in the next couple of months and completed before Christmas.