Gisburn Festival Hall has been awarded a £36,000 grant so heating and insulation can be installed in the main hall.

The long-term future of the building, in Bentlea Road, hung in the balance due to inefficient heating and spiralling fuel costs.

The trust that oversees running the hall said it was delighted to have been awarded a short-term loan which will be used as cash flow on the proviso that the hall receives the grant from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).

The total cost of the work is £48,950.

A village amenities grant of £10,000 has been approved by the Ribble Valley Council and a £2,950 contribution from the hall has already been raised.

Giles Bridge, chairman of the hall, said: “The boiler and central heating system in the hall have become increasingly costly and unreliable.

“Heating costs now account for 40 per cent of total hall expenditure and are expected to be over £3,000 in this financial year.

“The problems with the reliability of the current system have caused the hall to lose a number of regular bookings, mainly for fitness-related activities.

“The long-term viability of the hall is at risk unless we improve the reliability of the heating and reduce costs.

“The first stage of these plans is to improve the insulation of the main hall, install an air-source heat pump and under-floor heating.”

He said, in the longer term, the committee planned to generate the power to run the pump from solar panels.

Coun Richard Sherras, who represents the Gisburn area, said: “The application was approved, subject to the trust getting the RDPE money.”

The £36,000 has been awarded as an interest-free cash advance which must be repaid within four months.