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£300,000 refurbishment and national award for Hunsonby Community Centre

ACT’s Hellen Aitken presents Rachel Forster and Bryan Gray with the Hallmark award for Hunsonby Community Centre

Not only have the dedicated volunteers at Hunsonby Community Centre raised £300,000 to refurbish their community building, they’ve also been awarded a nationally recognised Hallmark quality standard for good governance.

Hellen Aitken from ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) presented the award to committee members Rachel Forster, Bryan Gray and Julie Ullyart outside the rural community building in Hunsonby, where building work for the refurbishment has already started.

The Hallmark award acknowledges the good work undertaken by community building management committees across the country and aims to encourage improvement across all their work and activities. In Cumbria the quality standard scheme is run by community development charity ACT as part of its community buildings advice service.

Hellen Aitken, ACT Development Officer, said “It’s a pleasure to award Hunsonby Community Centre with this Hallmark One quality award which I hope will be hung with pride when the refurbished building opens again next year.

“The dedicated committee have worked hard to plan the necessary refurbishments, raise the funds needed, and ensure that when they re-open they have the processes and procedures in place for effective charity administration and management of this important community facility.

“The Hallmark award acts as a marker for grant funders, evidencing that the Centre is well run. ACT is pleased to have also supported Hunsonby with their fundraising efforts, including a significant grant from the National Lottery Community Fund.”

On receiving the award Rachel Forster, Chair of Hunsonby Community Centre said “The Community Centre, which my family have known for several generations back to its former life as the village school, has served us well over many years but is now in need of refurbishment to bring it up to modern standards. It is the hub of the local community and we are very excited that work has started. We are very grateful to Hellen and her colleagues at ACT for all their support, and are delighted to have been awarded the Hallmark quality award.

“The refurbishment will cost £300,000 which we’ve raised through a combination of local fundraising activities and grants including: £74,500 from the National Lottery Community Fund; £50,000 from Sport England; £15,000 from Football Pools Trust, £10,000 from the Eden Community Fund, and many donations from the three villages we serve.

“The fundraising events and activities are also a great way to bring the community together, even when we’ve had to close the Centre. We’re currently planning our popular Christmas Windows event, where residents create themed displays in their homes. We sell trail maps and refreshments, and everyone enjoys getting together to walk the route and guess the displays. This year’s event will start outside Winskil playground  at 5.30pm on Sunday 15th December and everyone’s welcome.”

Village Halls and other community buildings interested in support available from ACT can contact Tel: 01228 817 224 Email: [email protected] or visit www.cumbriaaction.org.uk for further information.

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