Founded in 1928 Romanby Women’s Institute will turn 90 in 2018. It is as popular now as ever, with 40 members aged in every decade from their 30’s right through to their 90’s. Based in a much loved green timber hall in Northallerton built in the 1930’s the current committee and membership are keen to give the hall a new lease of life to see it into the next 90 years.
Plans are currently underway with a view to submit a planning application for an extension with a small meeting room, an improved kitchen and storage space. As well as external insulation, air source heating and solar panels. The renovation will also include an internal face lift. Although work is still in the early stages the WI are hoping to reach out to the local community who overlook the hall and use it.
In the coming weeks the Hall will be open every Thursday Morning from 9:30am-11:30am. People interested in finding out more about the plans, how they can help, or both, are welcome to call in for a cuppa and a biscuit.
Long standing member and Romanby WI Treasurer, Margaret Whitehead said ‘We are very excited to be embarking on this journey to secure the hall’s future. We have ambitious plans to create a green and largely self-sufficient building. The hall might be painted green but it’s not very energy efficient, and we have a chance to change that. Making it a flagship building locally.
‘It’s going to take a lot of work, and a lot of money, but it is something we feel we must do to ensure the future of our WI as a community resource. We are working hard to raise some of the money ourselves but will be seeking match funding from external sources’
Spearheading the refurbishment campaign alongside Margaret is new member Caroline Bailey. She said ‘As a new member with young children I have found Romanby WI to be so friendly, supportive and vibrant. It’s such a big part of the local community, and it could do even more. Without a village hall Romanby could be lacking in communal spaces, but the WI Hall fills that gap. By improving the hall we aren’t just securing the future of the local WI but all of the groups who do, and could in the future, benefit from it.’
Romanby WI are currently working with local architect Simon Hall on plans for the improvements. Once approved the funding application procedure can begin. Romanby WI is a charity, entirely run by volunteers. The hall itself is an important part of the local community, providing space for many groups, including Northallerton & District Deaf Club, Over 60’s Group, two Art Groups, local toddlers, antenatal classes, fitness classes and much more. You can find out more about Romanby WI on their Facebook page or contact firstname.lastname@example.org