Shropshire village hall celebrates revival with new bar and kitchen
A Shropshire village hall and post office are celebrating are a revival that has seen the building back at the centre of the community.
Criftins parish hall near Ellesmere held the official opening for its new bar and kitchen at the weekend while the post office situated within the building has gone from strength to strength.
It has been named the top performing out of 114 post offices in the region.
Volunteers behind the parish hall revamp are looking forward to a visit by the legendary Liverpool goalie, Bruce Grobbelaar, on Friday.
Hundreds of people packed into the parish hall on Saturday for a coffee morning that saw the official opening of the new bar area.
Visitors could also enjoy lunch cooked in the new kitchen at the venue, prepared by volunteer chef and committee member, Peter Todd.
Chairman of the committee, John Baker said the day had been a great success.
"We have lots of support from the community and are planning a full programme of events," he said.
"We are expecting a full house for our night with Bruce Grobbelaar on Friday. We are also planning a rockabilly night on September 21 and then a tractor run from the hall on October 6. We would love to hear from the community about what they would like to see at the hall."
The premises are also available to hire by individuals and organisations.
Lynn and Ian Johnson who run the post office secured a grant of their own to upgrade the section of the hall that had been converted into the service.
They increased the opening hours from two days to six days a week and added a retail area.
The £3,250 project was funded by the Post Office Community Branch Development Scheme.
Lynn said: “Both Ian and I worked in the corporate world and we were looking for a business opportunity closer to home. We wanted a better work life balance and we have now got that. We really enjoy being an important part of the Dudleston Heath community.
“People really welcome having a full-time Post Office as they now know that the branch is open every day, except Sunday, rather than in the past having to remember which two days the branch was open.
“There are many elderly people in the community, many of whom don’t drive and they appreciate that they can do their Post Office transactions and there is somewhere selling cards and stationery in Dudleston Heath as it is around two and a half miles to the nearest shop. There is also very easy disabled access."