In the Big Lottery Fund’s largest ever grant given to a Lincolnshire community, a staggering £793,000 has been awarded to build a new community facility in Newtoft.
For about 30 years villagers in Newtoft have been trying desperately to secure funding for a new social club, which, as the only facility in the area, doubles up as a village hall.
The existing building - often referred to as the ‘shed’ or the ‘hut’ - is in a bad state of repair, with many structural problems.
Fed up with the current situation and determined to get a new facility, about eight years ago, villagers formed a new group ‘Toft Newton Village Hall Association’.
“We’ve had so many knock backs over the years, there was a time when we thought this may never happen.
“It took a while to sink in that we actually had the money but we all feel very proud to have won the largest award for a community in Lincolnshire,” said Toft Newton Village Hall Association chairman Don Pavia.
The new building will have a social club, village hall, a bar, a community shop and changing rooms with showers for the local football team.
It will be available to hire for functions and there is already interest from people keen to put on karate lessons and craft classes.
Committee member James Hay-barr said: “It’s like the parish has won the national lottery.”
Building work is due to start in October and the community facility is expected to openearly next year.
The new hall will serve Newtoft, Newton by Toft and Toft next Newton.
Mr Pavia said: “It’ll make a massive difference to the area - that’s one of the reasons we’ve managed to get the funding.
“At the moment people have got nothing.
The social club serves as everything from a polling station, to a youth club and bingo - everything.
“It’s well past its use-by date, the building is falling apart.
“It wouldn’t have lasted much longer and the upkeep was getting expensive.
“We’re all just very excited now we’ve got funding - and things are going to change.”
There will be parties held when the old building is taken down and then again when the new building opens.
Mr Pavia said: “It’ll be sad to see the old building go, we’ve got so many memories here.
“All of us have made friends here.”
Mr Pavia thanked the committee for all of their hard work in particular Rob Nelson, who he says was a major driving force behind the application for funding.
An open day is being held at Newtoft Social Club on Saturday, July 25.
People are invited to look at the plans and there will be free activities including face painting, a bouncy castle, a rodeo bull and live music.
If you would like to get involved in the project or would like more information, call Don Pavia on 01673 880230.