The Village Hall in particular was very damp, in a poor state of general repair, uninviting and neither building had adequate modern heating. The facilities within the Village Hall did not meet current standards and was too small to accommodate all of the residents of the Village at one time,( a maximum of 60 people). The only access to the church was up three steps, these were dilapidated and in an unsafe condition. The heating in the Hall was inefficient – noisy wall mounted electric fan heaters, the church had ceiling mounted electric heaters.
Since the closure of the Primary School in 2007 and the loss of the Community Room in the school, there was no suitable facilities available and the village had subsequently lost its adult education classes, its fencing club and its WI group.
We had a positive response from villagers and people from the surrounding parish when they were asked for their views on the proposed future use of the combined Church and Hall.
A major consultative exercise was carried out via a questionnaire to every village and parish resident during Dec 2009. Residents were asked to choose which choice they preferred for the future of the Village Hall and Church. The options included selling the Hall and updating the Church only, updating the Hall only or joining the two buildings.
The majority of voters chose the option to link the Church and Village Hall to form a flexible community building. Residents were very keen to retain the two heritage buildings, they are both listed, so they would be preserved for future generations to appreciate.
The plan was to create a facility for the whole village but also to interest local businesses, charities, clubs and individuals to use the centre regularly.
The project was organised and managed by a project team of volunteers, under the auspices of the Parish Meeting to drive the project forward. The project team reports back to the Parish Meeting on progress.
Grants were obtained from a variety of sources, our main sponsors have been Lafarge-Tarmac, WREN and the Big Lottery plus a number of smaller grant bodies, trusts and generous donations from individuals. The village has also raised money from a variety of fund raising activities. The Parish Meeting has also transferred monies to this project.
Building work started in October 2013 and finish in March 2014. The Church and the Hall have been completely renovated and joined together with a glazed link. The modern facilities now include solar panels and underfloor heating, full disabled access, good catering facilities, a hearing loop and broadband.