A WEST Cumbrian village hall has been given a £42,000 cash boost.

Santon Bridge Village Hall has been handed the cash by one of the UK’s largest charitable funders -The Garfield Weston Foundation. The funding will make the hall a more flexible, sustainable and appealing venue for the community.

Ian Warren, chair of Santon Bridge village hall management committee said: “Fantastic news from Garfield Weston – the committee are delighted and really looking forward to making a step change in the hall’s facilities over the next year through such improvements as upgraded windows, new flooring, new lighting and insulation, more flexible heating, additional toilet facilities and more.

“In addition to the acquisition of the hall’s freehold for the community earlier this year, this award represents a great opportunity to make the hall the place to go for events and activities in the local area and further build it into a sustainable resource for the community for years to come.”

The Weston Anniversary Fund was launched earlier this year to provide funding to charities to improve their existing facilities or provide new ones as part of the foundation’s 60th anniversary. The trustees took the decision to more than double the fund to over £11 million after receiving over 2,300 applications, with over 60 per cent from charities that have never applied to them before.

The Garfield Weston Foundation’s director, Philippa Charles, said: “What really impressed our trustees is the amount of volunteering and community involvement that’s going on across the UK. We heard about so many amazing projects involving local people who are helping their communities thrive – regardless of cuts, Brexit debates and other challenges. The response from charities to this new fund clearly demonstrates the voluntary sector is proactive and energetic; far from the complacency it is sometimes accused of.

Yet we can also see the level of need that exists in our local communities and how much the services charities provide are so desperately needed. The impact of these grants will be significant, with benefits for many people lasting years.”