CHRISTMAS has come again to Silsden!

Just weeks ago St James’ Church announced that a painting presented by locally-based artist Martin Williamson was to be reproduced as a Christmas card to raise funds for a major renovation project.

Now the Project 200+ scheme, to renovate the church hall, has received another bumper gift – nearly £100,000 in National Lottery funding.

The money will be used for the third phase of the project, including the installation of new toilets and a wheelchair-accessible main door and foyer.

To date the scheme – which is named in honour of the hall’s 200 years’ service to the community – has provided a new heating system, large bi-fold doors and a wheelchair ramp.

The overall project is scheduled for completion in 2023.

A boost, of £30,000, has also been received from a charity which wishes to remain anonymous.

Project organisers say the last major investment in St James’ community hall, which is used by a wide range of groups and for events, was in the 1980s.

They add that the lottery funding will help secure its future.

Among those which use the hall is the Pied Piper Pre-School.

Its leader, Jenna Smith, said: “We are delighted that the National Lottery Community Fund has been able to help this great project.

“This work will enable us to provide a much nicer environment for our children and their families.

“We are a community-based pre-school that has been providing care for local children for over 20 years.

“These improvements will help us provide better opportunities for our children and will assist them to become more-independent learners.

“The hall is used by us every weekday and this money that has been awarded will be a great asset, helping to modernise the building and enhance the pre-school environment.”

The hall also played a major part in the community effort that was launched when most of Silsden was left without gas over Easter in 2018 after workmen damaged a pipeline.

And glowing tribute was paid by Northern Gas Networks bosses.

Chief executive officer, Mark Horsley, said: “Without the use of St James’ community hall facilities we would have been left with no customer centre as we worked to get Silsden back on gas.

“With 3,500 properties off gas and 8,000 customers affected, the warmth and welcoming attitude allowed us to be at the heart of the town offering help and support at a very difficult time.”

For further information about the renovation project, visit