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New Look for Local Village Hall

3rd March 2010


The people of Odell had cause for celebration on Wednesday 3rd March with the official opening of their newly refurbished village hall. The village hall is a converted barn, which has caused many problems for people with disabilities to use the facilities on offer. Bedford Borough Council’s Rural Affairs Committee enabled the purchase of the hall three years ago through the award of a grant and further money was raised from other charitable grants.
PR Village Hall Odell

Last year WREN gave £27,200 in funding for the new development and a further £5,000 was raised through smaller charitable grants and the result has expanded access for even more residents.  An essential part of the grant process was a donation from The Bedford Charity without which the WREN grant would not have been possible.

Despite its location and small rural community of 120 houses, Odell village hall is quite popular with others outside its borders as well as local residents. Over 5000 individuals and groups take advantage of this community hub, which was even more of a reason to upgrade the facilities for disabled people. The centre is used for a range of activities that include a youth club, luncheon club for elderly residents, keep fit classes, local events, family parties and weddings, plus much more.

As well as the disabled facilities the Parish Council applied for further funding from SITA to replace windows, install energy saving insulation to bring it up to modern green standards, and a new porch canopy. Mavis Knight, Parish Clerk said: “The refurbishment of the hall has made an enormous improvement. The refurbished hall has been running for several weeks now and we have had many compliments from residents and community groups that are very happy with the changes.”

The Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, Councillor Nick Charsley and Chief Executive Phillip Simpkins also attended the official opening of the Hall on Wednesday 3rd March together with representatives of the various grant organisations.  The Mayor commented: “It is fantastic that this genuine community hub has now been opened up to all, with new disabled facilities and improved features for all users. I understand that the newly refurbished hall is already proving to be very popular, which is a testament to the staff who work hard to promote the use of the building.”

Cllr Charsley added, “This is a very vibrant community and it’s wonderful to see all the hard work of the Parish Council and local residents finally pay off. It’s great too to see the Mayor opening the Village Hall and showing his continuing support for our rural communities.”

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