Straw bales keep village hall warm

When villagers are asked to help out with a new village hall project it usually involves baking cakes to help fundraising.A little bit more muscle was required from villagers in the Broads on Monday when they were asked to help roll 350 giant straw bales to the site of their new village hall.

When villagers are asked to help out with a new village hall project it usually involves baking cakes to help fundraising.

A little bit more muscle was required from villagers in the Broads on Monday when they were asked to help roll 350 giant straw bales to the site of their new village hall.

The locally sourced straw bales will create the walls and insulation for Neatishead's new �500,000 eco-friendly hall, which will also feature rainwater toilets, green roofs and recycled newspaper insulation.

About 170 villagers, including children, turned out to help with the work - and enjoy a barbeque.


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Ian McFadyen, project co-ordinator, said: 'It's really fantastic. The building is up, the roof is on and the timber frame is in place.

'Everyone is so excited and there have been lots of children helping.'

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The next step is for the builders to install the bales and coat them in a lime render.

In June villagers will be tasked with doing this themselves over 10 days for a smaller circular meeting room being created as part of the project.

The project is the culmination of 10 years of fundraising by villagers in Neatishead, Irstead and Barton Turf. It has been helped by a grant from the National Lottery.

Work started on the new venue at the end of last year and it is hoped it will be opened by the end of August.

It will replace their existing Victorian hall, which will be sold off when the project is finished.

One of those at the hall on Monday was Geoff Neave.

His great grandfather, John Baldwin, had helped build the old village hall when it was called the Reading Room in the late 1880s.

Helping shift the bales was Mr Neave's grand daughter Jessica Neave, 9.

The new hall is due to be given its new name this month after villagers have voted for their choice, either New Victory Hall or the Swallowtail Centre.

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