REGULAR users returning to the village hall in West Meon have discovered an upgraded and refurbished ladies cloakroom and toilets.

The revised layout and amenities make it much easier to access the cubicles and one hand basin has been fixed at a lower height for use by children. The design enables much more natural light to enter the room, and energy-saving lights have been installed.

In addition, baby-changing facilities have been provided in the building.

The upgrade has been made possible thanks to a grant of £10,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

The existing ladies’ facilities had become inadequate for current users. The restrictive layout created many access problems, especially for the older and more infirm, and for mums with young children.

The space was too small and many users had commented on these poor facilities in an otherwise well-appointed and popular venue.

The hall has about 200 regular female users of all ages, plus about 400 hundred different users over the period of a year, from one-off bookings such as parties, meetings, and conferences.

The hall management committee is optimistic that these vastly improved facilities will attract more community groups and individual hirers to use the hall for their events.

The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK.

The organisation is responsible for giving out 40 per cent of the money raised by the National Lottery for good causes and invests more than £650m per year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

Since June 2004, it has awarded more than £8bn to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for Second World War veterans.

Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £33bn has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.