Holt Parish Hall is rejuvenated and ready to host local events and act as a community hub during severe weather, thanks to part-funding from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ (SSEN) Resilient Communities Fund.

SSEN gifted the community £1,500 following its successful application to the Distribution Network Operator’s Resilient Communities Fund in 2023, so the hall could undergo renovation, structural repairs, insulation and damp-proofing.

Originally built in 1935 through local donations, the hall can accommodate around 50 people and has acted as the heart of the community for the best part of a century – playing host to art groups, the Women’s Institute, Parish Council meetings and local celebrations.

Through SSEN’s funding, a further grant and the generosity of the local community, enough money was raised to fully refurbish the much-loved local hub.

Chairman of Holt Parish Council, Chairman, Cllr Jonathan Cutts said:

“Our Parish Hall was built through the generosity of those who lived here in the 1930s and it has now been brought back to its best, again through the generosity of people and organisations that understand its importance to the village.

“The whole community can now look forward to celebrating the 90th anniversary of this building next year: a building that continues to provide a place for the village to come together in happy times and when resilience is needed.”

The newly refurbished hall has already been put to use, hosting artists exhibiting their works in the annual Dorset Art Weeks.

Lisa Butters, a Visual Artist exhibiting at the hall said:

“We hired Holt Parish Hall for our exhibition for Dorset Art Weeks 2024, which brought a lot of visitors through the doors.

“It was the perfect venue for our exhibition, great facilities and is a really attractive building on the inside.  We will definitely hire this venue again due to all of this; it’s a perfect setting and a great location.”

George Taylor, SSEN’s Head of Region for the area, added:

“It was clear when the panel met to assess the applications for the latest round of the Resilient Communities Fund that this building was key to the community; the very heart of its celebrations and in times when people needed assistance.

“The funding given has been used to carry out extensive repairs and refurbishment that will keep this Parish Hall functioning for many more decades to come. I’m delighted that SSEN’s funding has been able to help boost this vibrant community and provide a warm, safe space.”

Set up in 2015, the Resilient Communities Fund has provided around £5 million to over 700 not-for-profit community groups and charities. The 2023 Resilient Communities Fund was the final one, with SSEN Distribution developing and launching a new fund this year. While continuing to support community resilience, this new fund will seek to include environmental resilience and the adoption of low carbon technologies. Details and timescales will be announced in due course.

To find out more about the Resilient Communities Fund and read SSEN’s annual fund reports, please visit https://www.ssen.co.uk/RCF/.