Your Village Needs You!
Your Ideas, Feedback and Involvement will be very welcome!
The Ashwick & Oakhill Village Hall is a well-used facility that has been enjoyed since it was opened in 1986. However, the needs of the community change with time and all facilities need periodic renewal. Hence, a review of the configuration and facilities of the Village Hall and grounds was undertaken. The intention was, and continues to be, to bring them up to modern standards of energy efficiency, safety and ease of maintenance, as well as making the spaces more appropriate for the current and future needs of our evolving community.
Following discussions at both Parish Council (PC) and the Village Hall Committee (VHC) a Planning Panel, drawn from the PC and VHC, was formed. A Special General Meeting (SGM) was held, ideas collected and a vision for what a future Village Hall/Community Centre might comprise.
We also sought ideas and offers of assistance and expertise in preparing more detailed plans and specifications for planning, costing, budgetary and fundraising activities.
Our aims were, and still are:
- to identify a general consensus on what facilities the Village Hall and Recreation Ground should, and could, provide,
- to consider what the internal layout of the Village Hall itself might be to support these, and
- to develop detailed plans for costing and budgetary purposes, and then embark on the process of raising the necessary funding, etc to bring these plans to fruition.
For our planning to be effective we want, and need, the Community to join us on this journey as we devise the way ahead.
There are implications for the outdoor space too. An Outdoor Activity Centre has been proposed which envisions an area on the recreational field that provides hard-wearing and long lasting outdoor exercise equipment and new sporting facilities. These will help provide our children and teenagers with a modern space in which to meet, exercise and learn from each other in a small skate park facility.
Features suggested for inclusion during the previous consultations include what follows below.
A Needs/Uses ‘Vision’ for the Village Hall itself
The spatial needs within the Village Hall Building itself should include:
- A large multi-function room for Social Events and Functions, for the various Clubs, Societies and Group Meetings (EMCG, LHG, OTT, Indoor Bowls, etc) within the Community
- A smaller multi-function room, with good seating facilities, for more leisurely activities. A small library/book swap, space for easy chairs and tables for tea/coffee, board/card games, etc. This can also provide an ‘overspill’ and ‘meet & mingle’ area for the larger social functions and events when the Hall is rented out.
- A Committee/Small Group Meeting Room. Could either 2 or 3 double up as a small Library?
- Kitchen/food preparation area. The size and fitting out of this area will need careful consideration and depend on the nature of the functions for which the Community intends to cater.
- A Toilet/washroom zone suitable for the above goals.
- Indoor storage facilities – for tables, chairs, indoor games equipment (bowls mats, table tennis tables, etc).
- Secure outdoor storage – for equipment for the Outdoor Activity Centre and ground maintenance.
- Changing Rooms and facilities to support outdoor activities.
- Improved access from the Car Park to the Hall, especially for disabled members of the Community.
The ultimate ‘Vision’ for a rejuvenated facility was deemed to be beyond the reach of the Planning Committee in one go. The Village Hall Committee therefore broke the project down into achievable stages. These involve a mix of renovation, internal reconfiguration and, ultimately, some extension.
The initial phases have been improvement of the lighting in the main hall, lobby and committee room, total renovation of the hot water system and the heating supply. New radiators have been installed in the same areas as the new lighting. The Main Hall, Lobby, Committee Room and Toilet Zone have been redecorated, new windows, doors, curtains and floor have also been installed – all helping make the place look far more welcoming. User comfort has been improved through the purchase of new comfortable seating.
Externally, with the aid of grants received we have planted Spring Bulbs and Trees, with Wildflower plugs and seeds to follow.
Meanwhile plans have been commissioned for the next stage: to convert the existing garage and adjacent store room into a community cafe comprising of a new kitchen and seating area, to include provision for serving drinks and light snacks through internal and external hatches.
As of October 2021 we have been able to safely re-open the Village Hall for normal use. The Village Hall Committee took advantage of the enforced Covid-19 lockdown periods to pursue its plans for the Rejuvenation. We have now been able to identify the budget we need to initiate the Rejuvenation of the Kitchen and Seating Area and have started fundraising. We continue to welcome support from the Community in these endeavours.
Offers of help, funding and sponsorship will be gratefully received! Please contact [email protected]
So, a lot to think about! Let us have your feedback!
Meanwhile, the Planning Panel may be contacted through the Convenor, David Thorley, via: [email protected]