NETHERBURY’S historic Reading Room has been transformed after a £10,000 Lottery grant secured its renovation.

The village hall obtained the grant last year to refurbish the main part of the Netherbury Reading Room, which is a landmark building of local interest next to the hall.

The award was one of 83 schemes in the south west to benefit from Big Lottery Fund grants totalling £667,214. The money was awarded under the Fund’s Award for All programme which gives small grants of up to £10,000 to projects.

The Netherbury project cost around £18,000 and the village, together with other contributors, rallied together to raise the remaining £8,000.

The Reading Room is in the village map of 1835 and has previously been a girls’ schoolroom, a parish room, lending library, a men’s youth and billiards club and an unofficial store room.

Village hall treasurer Mike Morse said residents were delighted with the news of the completed renovation.

He said: “This has been a real community effort with three work parties and many individuals devoting their time. The Village Hall Committee are very grateful.”

The renovation has led to the refurbishment of the roof, new windows and doors, new drainage along the west wall, new plaster and cladding for the west and north walls, repairs to the floor, installation of a biomass pellet stove, rewiring and redecorating.

The project was completed on July 19 and the Reading Room was declared re-opened at the Netherbury Parish Council meeting one week later.

There was also an open afternoon on Wednesday, July 23 for members of the community to come and see the achievements.

Mr Morse added: “The lottery grant was fantastic news for the village hall committee and fantastic news for the community. “The village hall committee took on responsibility to renovate the Reading Room because it got to the point where it was quite dilapidated.

“But at just over £18,000, the project was too big to be funded from village hall funds alone and so The Big Lottery Fund, WDDC, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Netherbury Gardens Open, Netherbury Lunch Club and a number of private individuals are to be thanked for their kind donations or fundraising efforts.”