Greenlaw Memorial Hall gets £250,000 Lottery grant

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GREENLAW’S War Memorial Hall is one of three community projects in the south of Scotland to share over £0.5 million of Big Lottery Community Spaces Fund grants that will help them make the most of their lcoal area by improving meeting spaces in the heart of their communities.

Announcing the awards, Big Lottery Fund Scotland chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “I am delighted to be announcing the first awards from our Community Spaces programme. Each of these successful groups will develop a community space that is unique to their local area.

“In the Scottish Borders, for example, this funding will help to bring a historic building back to life for community gatherings in Greenlaw, while children in Langlee can look forward to a new and improved community play park. For people in Creetown, Dumfries, it will mean improvements to the King George V Playing Fields, which will revitalise this community space for generations to come.”

Plans to return the Greenlaw War Memorial Hall in the Scottish Borders to its former glory received a welcome cash boost of £250,000 from the fund.

The Greenlaw War Memorial Hall Committee will use the award towards the £284,000 renovation and extension of the historic building which was donated to veterans of the first world war in 1918.

Built in 1882, the Temperance Hall, as it was originally known, became the Memorial Hall when it was handed over to First World War veterans in 1918. In those days there were snooker tables and carpet bowls, playing cards and concerts.

But disaster struck on April 7, 1941, when a Second World War bomb fell on Greenlaw. The hall was badly hit, and although it was repaired after the war, some of the lasting damage can still be seen today.

The new modern community hub will provide space for youth activities, a cafe, an area to display local arts and crafts and a flexible and accessible community meeting space.

Kym Campbell-Whitton, chairperson of the Greenlaw War Memorial Hall Committee, said: “This funding is a result of five years hard work and determination of the committee to see the local residents’ wish for a historic hall owned by the community to be renovated and extended to provide a multifunctional hall, museum, meeting place, cafe/arts and crafts shop and recreational centre fit for the 21st century.

“This will allow the residents and seasonal visitors to access services on a local level, reduce the village’s carbon footprint, reduce social isolation, improve the well-being of the community and increase services and opportunities for the vibrant youths and children of our community.

“Many people from other organisations, including the residents have helped along our journey and without them and their support this project would not have happened so to them we say thank you also.”

Renovations will hopefully begin in August this year, with completion scheduled for nine to 12 months later.

A large percentage of the funds that the committee has raised over the last four years has been from the sale of bric‘a’brac and clothing donated to the hall (£13,500) and other fund-raising events have also generated funds for the hall, such as the 2009 ‘Tools of the Trade’ calendar (where local lads and the plucky football team, did the full Monty for the hall), bingo nights and quiz sessions.

Blackadder caravan park visitors also contributed as did local people and organisations, BAVS, Berwickshire Federation of Village halls and many others.