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Monday, 24 November 2014

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First look at hub set to transform isolated Cumbrian village

This is the first look at a new £500,000 village hub – set to transform an isolated community.

Ennerdale Centre graphic
An artist’s impression of the Ennerdale Centre

The artist’s impression shows how the two-storey building, dubbed The Ennerdale Centre, will appear when it opens next Easter.

Ennerdale Hub, the co-operative set up to manage the project, are celebrating after securing the remaining £478,000 to complete the scheme.

It will feature a village shop and proposed post office, a coffee shop, a community hall, and a visitors’ information centre.

The hub will be built on land in the centre of Ennerdale Bridge, which is on the edge of the Lake District in west Cumbria.

It comes after the community was left with virtually nothing when the village’s pub, shop and post office all closed.

The small primary school has no community facilities, the nearest shop, post office and doctor’s surgery are four miles away in Cleator Moor, and there is no bus service operating from the village.

The village is the gateway to the Wild Ennerdale Valley and apart from farming relies on tourism, including walkers on the Wainwright Coast-to-Coast walk.

But Ennerdale Hub, which is made up of 224 people, raised nearly £100,000 to take over the Fox and Hounds pub just nine months after it closed.

The watering hole now offers not only food and drink but is also a venue for community clubs, craft workshops and a library.

Ennerdale Hub secretary Peter Maher who is leading the project to build the new centre believes it will transform residents’ lives.

He said: “The re-opening of the pub was a big story but the fact we are now onto the second venture is remarkable.

“We are bringing jobs and life back to a village that was losing all its services.

“It has been a tough time but we’re a community that has actually done something rather than sit there and moan.”

The new community building will replace an eyesore derelict workshop and garage, which will be demolished in September.

It is hoped that work on the facility will be complete by March next year before opening by April 4 – four years to the day since the pub reopened.

Mr Maher also revealed that four members of staff would be taken on and it will create several volunteering opportunities.

He hopes the centre, which will be built by Keswick-based Edwin Thompson, will prove equally, if not more, successful than the pub, which turns over £300,000 a year.

There will be a range of activities including an after-school club, art and craft classes, Citizens Advice Bureau sessions, reading groups, library, film and history clubs, sport and exercise classes.

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