Village Hall Rejuvenation Project

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 is now getting underway. The intention is 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 recent discussions at both Parish Council (PC) and the Village Hall Committee (VHC) it was agreed to form a Planning Panel, drawn from the PC and VHC, to prepare for a Special General Meeting (SGM) of the Community. The Planning Panel currently comprises David Thorley (Convenor), Becky Battagel and Sarah Emery from PC and Andy North from VHC. It is anticipated that the Panel will grow as plans evolve and additional skills and experience will be needed.

The purpose of the SGM, held in the Village Hall on Wednesday 27th March 2019, was to discuss and comment on emerging proposals for a rejuvenation of the Village Hall. They also include proposals for an Outdoor Activity Centre, to incorporate the recently suggested Skate Park, as part of the overall plan to create a facility that will appeal to the Community as a whole. For the benefit of parishioners who could not make the SGM on the 27th March a drop-in session was held on Saturday 30th March to give an opportunity for discussion.

We also sought ideas and offers of assistance and expertise in preparing more detailed plans and specifications for planning, costing, budgetary and fundraising activities.

Discussions to date have been inspired by the report, ‘The Next 30 Years’, prepared after the Community was consulted in 2016, with a few later suggestions included.

Our aims 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.

Also, in thinking about future provision, the Playgroup tells us it intends to enhance the services it provides to parents and their young children – for which purpose it expects it will move out of the Village Hall. Hence, provision for the Playgroup within the Hall need not be incorporated.

Features suggested for inclusion during the previous consultations include what follows below. Do you still agree with them? Are there other features that should be considered? Contact us and let us know!

A Needs/Uses ‘Vision’ for the Village Hall itself

The spatial needs within the Village Hall Building itself should include:

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. A Committee/Small Group Meeting Room. Could either 2 or 3 double up as a small Library?
  4. 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.
  5. A Toilet/washroom zone suitable for the above goals.
  6. Indoor storage facilities – for tables, chairs, indoor games equipment (bowls mats, table tennis tables, etc).
  7. Secure outdoor storage – for equipment for the Outdoor Activity Centre and ground maintenance.
  8. Changing Room and Shower facilities to support outdoor activities.
  9. Improved access from the Car Park to the Hall, especially for disabled members of the Community.

A modest, but enthusiastic, group of some 22 people attended the  Special General Meeting. After a very brief summary of the above some suggested alternative layouts were presented leading up to a discussion session after which attendees were invited to complete a questionnaire aimed at highlighting preferred features that would be popular in a rejuvenated Village Hall. Another small group also attended the drop-in session on the Saturday and added to the pool of completed questionnaires.

Another opportunity for members of the Community to offer ideas and suggestions will be at the forthcoming Village Festival where we will have a display and you can add to the feedback we have received so far – so do make a point of looking out for us!

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]