Villagers who have been fundraising for seven years can start building a new hall after receiving a grant to top up their funds.

Residents and parish members in Felsted have raised nearly £450,000 to build a new community hall next to Holy Cross Church in the village.

The project has since been awarded a grant of £20,000 by the Essex Environment Trust, meaning they can now begin building preparations.

Jon Tredwell, congregation member at the church, said: “We have been working for seven years to raise money for a new community hall attached to the Holy Cross Church.

“We have got to a point now when we have raised a substantial amount of the money and we hope to start building later this year.

“There are formalities and paperwork to get through first and we don’t have an exact builder’s quote for the amount of money needed.

“But over the years the task has turned from an impossibility to a possibilty and now it’s a probability.”

Villagers and parishioners raised the majority of the money themselves, with donations from local businesses.

Although villagers will continue fundraising until they have a firm quote for the price of the building work, the £20,000 grant was gratefully received.