The Lower Bakehouse, linked to the 90-year-old village hall, had effectively become a storage room for equipment that didn’t have a home elsewhere.
Local volunteers set to refurbish the stone building, turning the ground floor into a community space for everyone to enjoy – stripping plasterwork, decorating the walls and building bookshelves.
The first floor houses a meeting room and a large collection of historical resources about the community.
The project was awarded a grant worth more than £1,460 from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund earlier this year.
This cash boost enabled the installation of computer workstations, more bookcases, a coffee table, heater and projection facilities.
Keith Quine, who has been involved with the project, said: “We are so proud that the community hub at the Lower Bakehouse is now a warm and friendly space for villagers to meet for a chat over a cup of tea, to browse magazines or access IT facilities – when it is safe to do so of course.
"This new space will benefit well-established groups such as Hartington Young Peoples Activity Club (HYPAC) and the history group.
"Recently, the community Facebook page has seen considerable interest in the posting of images from the halcyon days of the cheese factory, as well as other buildings in and around the village.
"One new opportunity will be for villagers with long memories to view these and other resources in comfort, and to build on the social history of the community.
"We hope that local residents who do not have IT facilities will become increasingly familiar with the technology and, with the support of members of Digital Hartington, become able to use IT for a range of purposes such as using Zoom to have regular contact with distant family members.
"None of this would have been possible without the involvement of volunteers who have given their time and expertise to bring about the transformation of a neglected space, together with the numerous families who have donated books and CDs. My sincere thanks to everyone involved.”