REFURBISHMENT of Chilworth’s 1960s village hall is one of the first projects to benefit from Test Valley’s Community Assets Fund.

The borough has given hall managers £25,000 towards improvements.

Chairman of the hall’s management committee, Brian Luff, said that the first phase will include some “long overdue building works” such as the re-siting of a fire escape, rebuilding the disabled access ramp and creating a walkway from the car park.

Inside stage lighting and AV systems will also be upgraded, said Mr Luff.

The small hall floor will be replaced with one to match the sprung floor in the main hall, and the doors between the two halls will be replaced with soundproof ones.

The hall will also be connected to a phone line for the first time and will have wireless broadband.

Work is due to take place during the summer and the hall will be closed for six weeks.

Mr Luff said the cost of this first phase would be well in excess of £50,000.

“We have a series of grant applications in, to help with the balance of this phase and to allow us to go ahead with a second phase which will see a complete reworking of the entrance hall and conference room, together with an extension of the storage facilities,” said Mr Luff.

Management will continue with its programme of fundraising events – the next one being a table top sale on Sunday March 23. “The hall is quite well used, but local surveys have suggested that if it were freshened up and modernised it would attract still more users,” said Mr Luff.

Regular classes at the hall include ballet, yoga, pilates, Argentine Tango and dog training classes and the building is also a meeting place several village groups, including the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Motor Neurone Disease Association and Inner Wheel.

TVBC Community Assets Fund uses cash from the council’s New Homes Bonus reserve, which is created by the Government matching the council tax income for six years from new homes created in the borough.

Full terms and conditions and an application form can be found online at Hard copies can be obtained from community engagement officer, Marianne Piggin, on 01264 368000.