THE Royal British Legion (RBL) hall in Cullybackey has undergone a £28,000 restoration thanks to a grant from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.
The hall at Main Street in the village was badly in need of repair so Cullybackey RBL decided to apply to the Trust in the hope of securing a grant.
They were successful and the money enabled them to fund the much needed work including a new floor and new roof.
Secretary of Cullybackey RBL, John Foster, said: “The hall needed a lot of work so when we saw an advertisement for funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust we decided to apply.
“We were delighted when we received the news that we had been successful in getting £28,000.
“Parts of the hall badly needed repair, particularly the roof where in places it had become rotten over the years.
“The money has allowed us to get the repairs done, including, as well as the roof, fixing the gable wall and installing a new floor.”
John added: “Thanks to the Trust the restoration work is complete and now we can look forward to expanding the use of the hall.”
The Royal British Legion is the UK's leading Armed Forces charity and one of its largest membership organisations.
Members get together through the network of branches and clubs all over the country and overseas to participate in social, fundraising and welfare activities.
The Cullybackey branch have around 49 members and meet at 8:00pm every first Wednesday of each month. New members are always welcome.
John added that the branch have more plans for the hall including a refurbishment of the upstairs.
“We want to be able to make the best use we can of the hall and allow others to benefit from it too,” he said.
Meanwhile, the £28,000 grant was awarded by the Trust under the Veterans’ Community Centres Programme in 2019/2020.
The programme is a specialist pot of funding which is awarded to Armed Forces charities with an existing building that requires refurbishment.
It is a £3 million funding programme to fund renovations and improvements to veterans’ community centres.
Grants of up to £30,000 are available whilst a small number of grants of up to £150,000 will be made to more complex projects.
The people who benefit from the grants are from the Armed Forces Community. This includes serving personnel, families, veterans and families of veterans.
In the latest round of funding almost £240,000 was awarded to Veterans’ community centres across the UK, ensuring the vital buildings remain fit for purpose and available to Veterans of all ages.
The funds can help improve access, revamp toilet facilities and make vital roof and electric repairs etc.
The Armed Forces Covenant Fund has four broad funding themes now and in future years.
Removing barriers to family life;
Extra support after service for those that need help;
Measures to integrate military and civilian communities and allow the Armed Forces community to participate as citizens;
Non-core healthcare services for veterans.
For further information on the Armed Forces Covenant please visit the website www.armedforces covenant.gov.uk