A community came together to open their new-look village hall after it got a £140,000 makeover.
Bradwell Village Hall in Church Road, Bradwell, underwent an extension, got an upgraded kitchen and was made easier to access over the last eight months.
Witham MP Priti Patel and Lady Patricia Newton, district councillor for Coggeshall, cut the ribbon on Friday.
The project was led by Bradwell Village Hall Management Committee and was paid for with grants from seven generous donors, including the Landfill Communities Fund, Veolia and Essex County Council.
Villagers also chipped in £20,000 after holding quizzes, pamper nights, egg hunts, dog shows and a casino night.
Glenn Lockey, chairman of the committee, said: “After many years of hard work, planning and fundraising, the day we have all be waiting for is here.
“The re-opening of our much-improved hall will mark the start of a new era for the village and we want to thank everyone who helped make the project happen.”
The hall became the only place to hold events in the village since The Swan Inn, now the Spicy Swan Inn Indian restaurant, shut in 2010.
It will be used for coffee mornings for elderly people, quiz nights, parties and meetings.
Lady Patricia Newton said: “This has been an ambitious project for a small village and I want to congratulate everyone involved, particularly local villagers who got behind the project and delivered a much-improved village hall, which will be at the heart of the village for generations to come.”
MP Priti Patel said: “It is a great honour to be invited to participate in the re-opening of the village hall in Bradwell.
“The way the local community has come together to raise funds for this much-used community asset is fantastic and the result is testament to the hard work and dedication of all those involved.”
Paul Taylor, executive director of the Veolia Environmental Trust, said: “This work is a great example of how the Landfill Communities Fund makes a real difference.
”Community halls like this play a vital role in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.
“It is one of our priorities to support projects looking to improve them and build new ones.
“Everyone involved in this project needs to be congratulated – I hope the results of their hard work are enjoyed for years to come.”