New life in store for hall serving Downs’ villages

Villagers_raise_a_glass SUS-141205-105220001
Villagers_raise_a_glass SUS-141205-105220001

A Downland village hall has received a substantial makeover, creating a vital hub for the people it serves.

Everyone living in the three villages of Litlington, West Dean and Lullington is delighted to have fulfilled one of the priorities set out the communities’ 2009 Parish Plan.

This was an ambitious building project which has re-invigorated the 1950s village hall - now the pride of this small rural community in the Cuckmere Valley. The project involved major groundworks to create an outdoor seating area, direct access to their playground and new double doors plus the rebuilding of a crumbling flint wall.

Richard Mann, Trustee of the hall and former Parish Council chairman said: “this project has highlighted the wealth of talent and enthusiasm in this small community and demonstrates what can be achieved by sheer dedication and hard work.”

He explained that fantastic support, both financial and in kind, has helped make this idea a reality. More than £12,000 has been raised through fundraising and donations in the parish, while more than 20 volunteers have given over 100 days in total towards the project.

Capital grant aid of £16,500 was secured from the South Downs National Park’s Sustainable Communities Fund, The Veolia Environmental Trust’s Landfill Communities Fund, Wealden District Council’s Community Grant and Cuckmere Valley Parish Council.

Villagers hosted a garden party on May 10 to open the project. Richard Mann explained that Litlington Village Hall is now fit for purpose and provides a vibrant and financially viable focus for rural village life.

It is in constant use by the thriving kindergarten and clubs and hosts activities including Pilates, yoga, sewing and the weekly coffee morning as well as council meetings and private functions.

Mr Mann acknowledged everyone involved in this building project.

Litlington Village Hall, built in 1953, was a gift to the parish from Richard Canning Brown in memory of his wife Maud. It replaced an army hut and is now the focal point for the three villages. The original Deed of Gift stated Trustees should be the Chairman of the Parish Meeting (later renamed Parish Council), the President of the Litlington and West Dean WI and the Rector.