Small Fenland village has big plans for its community and its hall
A band of determined volunteers are hoping to breath new life into a village hall and with it the community at large.
The trustees of Lakes End Village Hall are not only raising money to save the ageing building but are also drawing up a timetable of events to try to re-invigorate a sense of village life.
Sandi Turner, one of the trustees behind the move, explained Lakes End has lost many of its amenities including its pub, shop, school and chapel.
She says as a result of the losses residents of the small village have no real opportunities to bump into each other and enjoy ad-hoc meetings and chats.
Sandi said: "Those social interactions that happened so naturally once and were the bedrock of community spirit have sadly disappeared. It brings into sharp focus the impact of change in small villages like ours."
The hall itself was built in 1966 on land acquired by the then trustees for the purpose of education, social or recreational activities.
It was second hand at the time and was expected to serve for no more than 20 years. But it is still standing and serving the community 56 years later.
But time has taken its toll and the building needs repairs, including to its roof and its toilets need updating.
Sandi said: "Given these two not unsubstantial problems, and being up for a challenge, it seemed to me and my fellow trustees only logical that we should try to revitalise not just the hall, but also interest in and around the community as well.
"Covid has taught us all some salutary lessons about the importance of community and having a network of people to talk to, share the burden with and generally have fun with. The impact on mental well-being and the devastating impact of isolation are all too common place and covered extensively in the press and on TV today.
"So, the first thing we did was to write a village website www.lakesendvillage.co.uk and set up a programme of events, beginning with an Easter Fayre on April 16.
"With a small pot of money we obtained from grants during Covid, we are having the toilets remodelled, as the old toilets were hardly fit-for-purpose, and have set about fixing the leaking roof, but there are many other issues that need addressing.
"We have been working hard to get other local organisations involved, such as the Welney Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, and have reached out to other societies, such as the Welle Creek Trust, to collaborate on projects that will benefit the community, because at the end of the day it is the local community that we are doing this for.
"We are a small village, but our Trustees have big dreams, and are really pulling out all the stops for this Fayre and have many more exciting events planned for the year."
The Easter Fayre on April 16 will include a bouncy castle, carnival games, a children's treasure hunt, fancy dress competition for all including your dog as well as a fun dog show and refreshments.
All money raised will go to the regeneration of the village hall and for more details visit: www.lakesendvillage.co.uk