Delight as £42,000 grant secures future for hall

Management team bookings manager Frances Wilcock, treasurer Bob Marshall, and Secretary Des Cooney
Management team bookings manager Frances Wilcock, treasurer Bob Marshall, and Secretary Des Cooney

ONE of the borough’s oldest performing venues has secured tens of thousands of pounds to carry out crucial repair works.

Volunteers at St Joseph’s Hall, in Chapel Lane, Leigh, are celebrating a £42,000 grant from Viridor Credits to make improvements to the venue, which is in desperate need of refurbishment.

The historic hall, which was built in 1926, has played host to dozens of top folk bands, famous comedy acts including Ken Dodd, and is home to the oldest amateur dramatic society in the country, the St Joseph’s Players.

Committee member Des Cooney said: “The venue has needed work for many years, but we haven’t had the funding to do it. This grant will allow us to make substantial improvements to encourage people to use the hall and ensure its survival. We had to raise around £4,000 ourselves as part of our application for funding.

“Some time ago we decided that we needed to raise money to improve facilities within the hall, not only to assure the future of St Joseph’s Players but also to encourage other people and groups within the local community to use it. It has a great deal of potential, and already includes a theatre and an excellent sprung ballroom dance floor. St Joseph’s is one of the few venues in the area capable of hosting large stage productions.”

“Parts of the hall were redecorated in December 2009, but the grant will be used to refurbish the hall’s toilets, replace chandeliers and improve carpeting in the corridors.

St Joseph’s Sodality Hall, in Mather Lane, Leigh, will also be refurbished.

An Irish music night with Warrington-based folk band The Bogtrotters was staged in April to raise funds for repairs at St Joseph’s Hall. It plays host to opera nights, comedy, school productions, tribute bands and shows from local dance schools.

Viridor Credits Environment Company provides funding for environmental and community projects within 10 miles of an active Virador landfill site. For more information, call 01823 624656.