AN 80 year old women's institute centre which is used by the whole community has been given a facelift and new heating system.

Romanby Women’s Institute, near Northallerton, has been used to provide activities and companionship for women alongside being used as a base for community groups including craft clubs, exercise classes and community coffee mornings.

But with failing heating and outdated windows and decoration, users approached Hambleton District Council through ward member Kevin Hardisty for help with funding for improvements.

New windows and doors have been put in using £3,000 from the Council’s Making a Difference Fund and match funding has also paid for a new heating system and redecoration of the hall.

Margaret Whitehead, Chair of Romanby WI said: "We hope the improved facilities will attract more people to attend events at the hall when it is safe to do so, including the return of our 'chatty café' which we started last year to alleviate isolation and loneliness.

"The WI is trying to help whatever community groups we can in these difficult times whilst observing best practice and following guidelines, so far we have managed to let a few small groups use the hall. As Romanby does not have a village hall, the WI hall is an important keystone of our community, ensuring it is a special place to live."

The WI is holding a Pumpkin Plod encouraging residents to decorate their homes between Sunday 25 and Saturday October 31.