MEMBERS of the Moreton WI now have a warmer and more welcoming meeting house following a £14,500 refurbishment.

The hall in New Road has been redecorated, had a new and more efficient heating system installed and new book shelves for the weekly second-hand book sale following a £9,150 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Further grants from the Gloucestershire Environment Trust, Co-operative Community Fund along with the Edith Man Charity and Moreton in Marsh Charity, have paid for roof repairs and insulation and upcoming kitchen refurbishment.

Angela Terry, WI treasurer, said without the cash they would not have been able to carry out any of the work.

“We’re absolutely delighted they were able to help,” she said. “We would have just had to soldier on as we were. The heating system was old and not very efficient.

“Because the roof was not insulated we were losing heat and money was pouring out for the electricity but we had no way of stopping that without the grants.

“We hadn’t got the money to pay for it ourselves. We only had a little bit of savings. The hall hasn’t had anything done to it since 2004. It was a bit shabby. It needed improving and modernising.”

The original building, which dates back to the 1700s, was built initially as a stable block before it was converted into four cottages.

People lived in the buildings until the late 1930s, when the WI bought the properties for £100. But the site was not converted it into one big hall until the 1950s.

The hall is now used for two art groups, the WI monthly meetings and is also available for the public to hire.

“It’s beautiful now compared to what it was,” said Mrs Terry. “Everyone has complemented it, it’s warmer and cosier.”

The refurbished hall is being officially re-opened on Friday, January 24 at 11am.