GROUPS barred from using a school hall for events have had their bookings restored, a trust has said.

The Sigma Trust, which runs St Helena School in Colchester, had told a number of community groups the hall would be unavailable due to staff changes.

It was a devastating blow for many of the groups including the Colne Endeavour Band which had been using the hall on Friday evenings for several years.

It was without a base when it was told it could no longer rehearse there.

Girl Guiding Essex North East was also told it could not hold its County Training Day there later in the year.

However, the trust, which took over the running of the school in 2016, has said the rota will revert back to normal next month.

It said the school faced a staffing issue which led to the temporary cancellation of some after school lets.

The trust said these issues have now been resolved and the lets will be up and running again from June 3.

The school apologised for any inconvenience caused and has told the groups any bookings cancelled will be reinstated.

Colchester High Steward Sir Bob Russell, a former governor St Helena School, had previously said he was not happy with how the situation had been handled.

He is an ambassador for Girlguiding UK and a patron for the Colne Endeavour Band.

He said: “The manner in which both Colne Endeavour Band and Girl Guides were told they could not use the school was done in a far from professional way, a clear indication, I would suggest, of how disinterested the Sigma Trust is in maintaining and fostering community engagement which does not reflect well on St Helena School.

“The Guide event was for a single day. Colne Endeavour Band need a permanent base every Friday evening throughout the academic year.”

Girl Guiding Essex North East said the group was still waiting for clarification on the situation.

The Gazette tried to contact the Colne Endeavour Band for an update.