Situated in Powburn, the Breamish Hall has been in existence for many years, latterly serving as the co-op until this finally closed. Since then, the building has served as the focal point for the local and wider community in a different guise as that of a community hall rather than a community shop. It is a focal point for community activity and provides a valued space for local groups and services that otherwise would struggle to find a home and of course helps to facilitate community cohesion, so vital in rural communities.
As with all old buildings repairs are an ongoing issue and in 2016 the hall committee applied for funding to enable some much needed work to be undertaken on the floors in the main hall and kitchen. If the work had not gone ahead, there was the very real possibility of the hall having to close some of its facilities to users which would have had a negative impact on service users and income.
Total costs for all the work including some insulation and redecoration came to just over £27,000. May Wilson, chair of the hall committee applied for grants from various sources including Northumberland National Park Small Grant Fund and was successfully awarded £2,000 towards the project. All works were completed on time and to a high standard.
The hall was well used by many local groups previously from Branton School, Hedgeley WI and the North Northumberland Spinners, for example, who have used the hall since the early 1980s holding two sessions a month. However, since the refurbishment more groups have come along to book the facilities including a singing group for young children and new social nights have been organised; the refurbished hall is thriving.
One person who went along to the North Northumberland Spinners group was Avril Graham. Her love of wool began when she moved to Rothbury with her family in 2002. Whilst visiting a local agricultural show she was introduced to the art of spinning by the ladies from North Northumberland Spinners. Invited to join their group, the Mondays when she could go spinning became the highlight of her month. So much so that she opened Rainbow Yarns in 2015; a local yarn shop located in Bridge Street, Rothbury.
The shop sells a range of wool from local sources to bigger name brands. Although Avril is passionate about wool, she did not want to exclude anyone with allergies or those on a more limited budget; instead she sees her shop as a community venture as well as a commercial one. To facilitate this inclusivity she also stock cottons and some acrylic blends. The shop prides itself on being accessible to everyone who is interested in creating something with wool and Avril is always happy to assist people with projects either in shop time or as a separate workshop.
For more information on
Rainbow Yarns: https://www.facebook.com/pg/rainbowyarnsrothbury/about
Breamish Hall: http://www.breamishvalley.com/directory/breamish-hall
North Northumberland Spinners: https://sites.google.com/site/northnorthumberlandspinners/home