A COMMUNITY project to revamp a derelict house and create a village cafe, homes and car parking has been given a £25,000 cash injection.

The grant for the Great Oakley Community Hub has come from Prince’s Countryside Fund, as part of the rural four project with the People’s Postcode Lottery.

It will be used as part of the group’s ongoing work to renovate Red House in the village.

Mark Godfrey, Great Oakley Community Hub chairman, said: “This is fantastic news. This grant will help someway towards the refurbishment of Red House.

“It is a large and costly project and all funds are gratefully received. This funding will help ensure the refurbishment is not held up while funds are raised.

“It is good to be working with the countryside fund and our other partners to provide facilities and services that do not currently exist in our community. We would like to thank the countryside fund, People’s Postcode Lottery and Pub is The Hub for their support.”

Great Oakley Community Hub was formed after villagers saved the Maybush Inn, in Farm Road, Great Oakley, from closure last year.

Campaigners rallied round and raised £86,110 to obtain a mortgage and buy the building. Now the society is embarking on its next project at Red House, which is next door to the pub.

An offer to buy the building was accepted after it went on the market with a guide price of £240,000.

It is planned to use the garden as an area for events, such as barbecues, transform the yard area into much-needed car parking and use the ground floor of the house itself as a village cafe and upstairs as three apartments for villagers in need.

The countryside fund is hoping the money will help to combat social isolation for many of the village’s elderly residents and said consultation with local residents has proven the need for improved services, which the café will help to resolve.

Claire Saunders, director of the Prince’s Countryside Fund, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support Great Oakley Community Hub with this project, which will go a long way to reducing isolation in the area and will help local residents with employment.

“We’re also immensely grateful to People’s Postcode Lottery for providing this funding, allowing the Fund to help more rural communities throughout the UK.”