A POPULAR village venue that was bought and refurbished by the local community is inviting groups to use their facilities for free during February.

The George in Newnham reopened last year after long campaign by locals to save it for the benefit of village residents and the wider Forest community.

Its cafe began trading in the summer and the community-run venture has since expanded to offer three “beautiful” rooms for use by local groups and community organisations.

This month, to encourage more people to use the “versatile” spaces, it is inviting groups to use them for free.

There are three rooms to suit the needs of groups large and small, which are bookable for two hour sessions from 10.30-12.30pm or 2-4pm.

A spokesperson said: “All that’s wanted in return is feedback – what worked well and what didn’t.”

On the kinds of groups invited to use the spaces, the management committee says: “Maybe you are thinking of setting up a course and want to provide a taster? Or run a workshop? Or are forming a group that needs a space to rent?

"You may have an idea for something new you would like to test out and see if there is an audience for it? A writing group? A Youth Theatre? A community help group? Or maybe you have a fledgling band that wants somewhere to rehearse (sorry- acoustic only!)?

"If you have a great idea to try something out and need to TEST-IT The George are offering to try out their rooms for FREE.”

A committee spokesperson added: “We’re a Community Benefit Society and operate on a not-for-profit basis.

“We want to see local groups use the beautiful rooms we have.

“We seek to keep the cost of access to the building as fair as we can, but of course need to cover heating costs, services and professional staff where needed.

“We could not operate without volunteers.

“The purchase of the building was largely made possible thanks to the generosity and support of people living in, and near to, the village.

“If people like the try it free sessions, we offer reasonable rates for hire.”

To express an interest in booking a room for free email [email protected] with TEST SPACES in the subject line.

There are further details on the George Facebook page and on their website.