THE new modern community centre in Garway is a world away from the former 1920s hall which served the village.

Not only is it highly energy efficient as it is a Passivhaus design building but it also has a cafe and kitchen, and will be a social and wellbeing hub.

More than 250 people attended the official opening of the centre on Saturday which will be available for a variety of events including weddings and conferences.

All activities held at the former village hall will now be moved to the new centre which was built on land next to the primary school.

Project manager, Malcolm Howard, said at the event: "It has been an amazing journey for us over the last five years, and we feel very privileged to have this beautiful building."

The Garway Village Hall Trustees worked hard to gain funding of £717,906 from The Big Lottery Fund's Awards for All and Reaching Communities. There have also been grants from the Trusthouse Charitable Foundation, The Post Code Local Trust, Awards for All, Coop Local Community Fund, Green Building Store, Life Cycle UK and Knauf Insulation.

The High Sheriff of Herefordshire, the Reverend Lady Lisvane, officially opened the centre.

Colin Robinson, secretary of the trustees charity, said: "We have had enquiries about wedding receptions already. We have got a conference in September which is all about Passivhaus."

He said the main point Lady Lisvane made was about rural isolation and he said the centre would help combat this.

There is a cafe which will be open at school pick-up and drop-off times Monday to Friday and these hours will be extended in the future. School meals will also be cooked at the centre in the near future.

Mr Robinson added: "To get 250 people to turn out actually says it all."

The former hall site will be sold if 75 per cent or more of villagers at a public meeting agree. The meeting will be arranged and publicised.

The former hall, which was built in the 1920s, cost £4,500 a year to run, whereas the new hall's running costs are expected to be £380 a year.