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Ex-straw-dinary Big Lottery Funding

4 October 2010

Ex-strawdinary big lottery funding

Buildings made out of straw might sound like the stuff of fairy tales, but the new Victory Hall in Norfolk is turning this innovative concept into reality, thanks to the Big Lottery Fund.

When a 104-year-old village hall in the Norfolk Broads needed replacing, the builders were called in to create a new one. But they were met with an unusual challenge when they discovered they’d be working with straw bales and shredded newspaper.

The New Victory Hall, which serves the local communities in Neatishead, Irstead and Barton, is one of the most unique and eco-friendly village halls in Britain. Its contemportary design incorporates 350 locally-harvested straw bales and shredded newspaper insulation, within a frame made from reclaimed timber. The external walls have been rendered by hand using lime render, which is as durable as cement but creates less CO2 to produce and also absorbs CO2 as it hardens.

Big Lottery Fund awarded £177,000 towards the core construction costs of the project, which took less that seven months to complete and spent more than 10 years in the making.

Local community events allowed more than 150 people to help out, moving straw bales, building and rendering the hall’s meeting room.

Chairman Ian McFayden said,

“Constructing a contemporary village hall using straw bales has been hugely challengig but thanks to the support of the Big Lottery Fund and the local community, we now have a fantastically welcoming building that people say ‘feels right’ when they enter it. It’s been a great success”

The New Victory Hall was awarded a grant through the Community Buildings programme and opened in September 2009

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