A bid is underway to reinvigorate Bickington’s Tomlin Hall and place it back at the centre of the community.

The Tomlin Hall at Bickington still has plenty of facilities to offer community groups but is in need of modernising. Picture: Tony GussinThe Tomlin Hall at Bickington still has plenty of facilities to offer community groups but is in need of modernising. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Tomlin Hall Management Committee charity which runs the hall wants to start a phased programme of renovation to bring the building up to date.

But it also wants to hear from local people about the kind of activities and facilities they would like to see at their local hall.

Chairman Marc Binns said the hall needed to ‘reconnect’ with its community.

He told the Gazette: “The building is old-fashioned and tired and in need of renovation – people nowadays don’t know of it.

“Whereas if you went back 30 or 40 years, it was a well known and well-used part of the village.

“It needs refurbishing and it needs reconnecting to the community.”

The hall is still perfectly usable in its current state and has a kitchen area, toilets, parking and storage space – it currently hosts around nine user groups including dog clubs, a kung fu group and Brownies.

The hall was built in 1929 and named after its original benefactor, a Mrs Tomlin and was given to Fremington parish in 1938.

It was highlighted in the Fremington Community Survey last year, as being in need of repair, of needing to be modernised and to offer more activities across the full age range.

The committee has already made a start, with a grant from the Communities Together Fund to allow it to work with an architect to come up with a plan for redeveloping the hall in stages.

Mr Binns added: “To provide a facility that reflects the needs of the community we need to find out what those needs are. We are developing a community consultation plan and also working on improving our communication.

“We want people and stakeholders to have their say, but we also want people to be involved more directly, as volunteers to help revive a village hub.”

Anyone with suggestions of what they would like to see at the hall, or who would like to get involved in running it, or would like to enquire about a booking, is invited to email Marc Binns on hartleymarc@outlook.com .