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History

Hall Home.              The Hall.             Location.            Activities.            Administration.              History.

 

This presentation was given to the Parish Council in October explaining how the Village Hall Committee went about refurbishing the Village Hall.
The presentation was given by Gary Thomas who along with George Crozer have been on the Committee since the project started back in 2000.
The history of the hall dates back to 1962 when the hall was opened with generous assistance from BP back in 1962.

The pictures at the bottom were from the archives of George Clay Partnership who were the original architects when the hall was built.
Red – Parish Councillors who served on the Hall Committee and Parish Council at same time.

Blue – Past Parish Councillors who served on Hall Committee.

C Current Hall Committee.

Although you can see that the Committee has changed over the years there has always been a strong Parish Council representation. At one time there were five active Parish Councillors on the Hall Committee.

This slide is information as at October 2019.
The Hall Committee meets once a month.
As you can see the number of regular users before the works started was not high.
This is a quote from the Architects, Clay Architecture, who worked with the Hall Committee on the refurbishment project.

‘The Village Hall had become a 1960’s building which had fallen victim to years of vandal abuse and a lack of maintenance fund’.
As a result we had the birth of the HUGH Fund.

The precept did not automatically provide funds to the Village Hall but would be a source of funding (a grant source) when the Hall Committee came to the Parish Council with its plans. The annual precept initially was £5,000 but did increase to £10,000.
From the public consultation the plan was to build a new purpose built Village Hall which would have had in effect two halls, one sports orientated, one function orientated.

It was believed that there would be sources of funding after seeing some of the other hall projects within KCC.
With the risk of a possible airport destroying the peninsula external grant funding was not sought but the Committee went about its own fund raising. The Hall Committee believed it was necessary for them to have raised some monies before seeking funding in order to assist with any grant application.

Architect appointed following a tender and interview exercise.

Became apparent that the funding that we had been led to believe would be available was not forthcoming, as we were not deemed to be in such a deprived area.

Public were asked for views and a change of emphasis from rebuild to refurbishment believe that was 2006/07 or 2007/08.

£17,436 spent on the Architect by Parish Council before change to refurbishment.
It was the Architects’ idea to split the work into 3 significant phases as it was difficult to attract funding in this area as the location was not deemed deprived enough to warrant significant investment.

Clay Architecture Ltd commented that they were excited by the challenge to breathe new life into this old gem, even in intermittent phases, perhaps resuscitation is best done through multiple deliveries of breath.

Public consultation was key not only for public buy-in but also to prove to any funders that there was a demand for the refurbishment programme. It was from the public consultation at one of the Farmers Market displays a member of the public raised the idea for the Blue Room which was then incorporated within the plans.
The roof was at the end of its life and the back wall had been kicked to bits and boarded with plywood.

Old fire doors only kept closed due to a piece of wood being placed so bar could not be opened.

Internal painting which was carried out by a number of Hall Committee members and other members of the public who came forward. The painting was paid for by a donation from a member of the public.
Top left picture shows before the work started; the bottom picture is during the refurbishment; the picture on the right shows the hall after the refurbishment.
Side with roof extension.

Note the white boarded up windows – these were replaced as part of Phase Three with what has become the new main entrance.
Left hand Side before, Right Hand Side after.
Internal Decorating carried out by volunteers not all were committee members and not all were hall users.

This included the internal roof panels being refitted where over the years they had become loose and fallen.
This was the biggest Phase and hardest to manage in terms of funding but this had to be completed in one go as all the parts of the front were linked and were being moved and replaced. 

From left to right the front comprised of the following:

Green Room/Committee Room
Gents Toilets
Lobby for the main entrance
Ladies Toilets
Doctors Surgery/Receptionist Office

This was to become the following:

Green Room/Doctors Waiting Room/Small Room to hire
Doctors Receptionist Office
Doctors Surgery
Fire Escape
Additional Storage facilities
Gents Toilets
Disabled Toilet
Ladies Toilets
Kitchen
The top pictures show the wooden structure with white boards being where windows had been boarded up over the years following vandalism. The wooden frames were rotten and the hall did let water in and heat out due to the lack of maintenance.
Must be noted that although a list of requirements to meet for the Doctors, including standards to meet for basins, positioning of items etc,  no capital funding was provided by the Health Authority. We were able to increase the rent to a fairer contribution afterwards which is at a level which is fair to both parties in order that the Surgery remains.
Top Gent.

Bottom Ladies.

As you can see both had seen better days and there were no disabled toilet facilities.
Top Gents Toilets.

Ladies Toilets.

Disabled/Nappy Changing Facilities.
Green Room was previously used as a Committee Room, Storage, Youth Club and Dramarama.

Now Doctors Waiting Room, Committee Room, Children’s Parties, Dramarama Changing Room, First Responders Training etc etc. This is now an area which can be used in its own capacity, a welcome addition to the facilities available.
This was the hardest phase to fund as when applying we needed match funding in place which meant we had to find a source of funding to say yes first so that we could use their approval in later applications.

Garfield Weston gave us money to get plans, costings etc for any grant request which was really appreciated.

The Leader Programme were the first to say yes from our larger grant applications. This gave us the impetus to go for further funding.
 
Veolia required a presentation in Portsmouth but their grant came with a number of stipulations including none of their funds could be spent on the Doctors Surgery nor the Toilets. This made the project a bit harder as we inevitably moved costs round after work had started but had to ensure we could meet the funders requirements which we achieved.

It must be noted that had this been a Parish Council facility access to these grants would not have been available as the Parish Council’s had the ability to precept and collect the money direct from the parishioners.

In order to receive this money from Veolia Environmental Trust High Halstow Parish Council also paid a fee of £5,559.00 to Veolia ES Landfill.

The loan came from High Halstow Relief in Need.
This had been planned to be the last of the large phases but unfortunately we did not have sufficient funds at this stage to do all of the outstanding work in this phase.
Old kitchen now where the new Bar is.

New kitchen where the old Doctors Surgery was.
Decoration carried out by Committee members and volunteers. This included the kitchen being fitted by Ray Collins and Ron Wakefield.
This was the last of the big elements left over from Phase Three.
The new upstairs room, now known as the Blue Room, had been a loft, which had been used for storage.
Primarily Donation from Geoff Munday who had previously also donated monies for the decoration carried out in Phase One and Two. Geoff who wanted this kept quiet regarding this donation whilst he was alive, it seems so right that the Parish are aware just how generous he was to the village. It is so appreciated.
This will probably be the last repair as floor will need replacing as this is the original floor from 1962.
The Blue Chairs in the Hall were bought at this stage.

The electrical work was outside lights, floodlights for Village sign and vandal guards fitted by Ray Collins.
Phase Seven consisted of buying some large round tables and some small square tables to complement the older rectangular tables – giving hirers a choice.
Replacing with LED lights which is safer for the members of the Hall Committee who had to change the old tubes.
Note that each organisation obviously would have their accounts audited and signed off including the Parish Council.

We were never in a position to have all of the money available in one go to bring the total cost of the project down. In addition some of the grants available would not have been available if the cost of the work we were carrying out in one phase would have exceeded £250,000. 

I am proud that the Hall Committee had raised nearly 40% of the funding from its own activities. The Village should be proud of that as it was their support that raised the money.
Main Hall and lobby has been redecorated, paid for out normal running costs with the works carried out by a local decorator, Graham Collins Decorators.

Dramarama, one of our main hirers, using money from their own funds as well as a obtaining a grant paid for these improvements.

Ray and June Collins installed much of this again saving money.
One of the key decisions the Hall Committee took with the Architects was to obtain a fully costed feasibility study. This gave us estimated costs so when tenders received fair comparisons could be made and also enabled us to provide backup information for our Grant applications.

Tender document agreed with the Architect was tight to minimise the chance of the builders coming across something which they could charge more for. All works were completed within the tendered price or under which with our budget being extremely tight was important to us.

All major works were tendered to ensure not only price was competitive but all the necessary checks on suitability of the firm carrying out the work were completed.
As part of the grant funding for both Leader and Veolia, the Hall Committee had to show we had paid the builder from our bank account. As we didn’t have that amount of money available the Parish Council kindly lent the money and were paid back once the grant monies came in. Without this the works would not have been carried out and the project left unfinished.

Minute 459 confirmed all monies paid back.
As you can see a variety which covers all parts of the community, young and old alike.
Boxercise

Kent Ghana’s Association

Children’s Parties

Youth Club

Stay and Play
Swing Band

New Jersey Boys

Village Cookbook

The Redford’s
Caxton’s Chartered Surveyors carried out the survey 30th November 2016 which was to ensure the building insurance was set at the right level.
The Hall Committee could not have completed refurbishment programme without the massive support we have received from the community at large and not sure they realise just what an important part they played, but rest assured the Hall Committee  does appreciate this. `This was not only in their support in coming to events but the running of them as well.

We cannot name them all as there are so many and don’t want to offend anyone by missing them out. In addition the community has come along to the various events I would say in their hundreds as different events appealed to different parts of the community and different age groups so this was a Village Project supported by the whole Village.
HUGH Fund as was is now closed as a project as the task of ‘Help Upgrade our Geriatric Hall’ has been completed.

There will be a need to prepare for ensuring the hall stays maintained rather than allowing the hall to fall into disrepair as had happened in the past.

We plan to have an active repair/redecoration programme to ensure the hall stays good.
The Hall Committee is currently paying a loan of £5000 per year which has now under five years to run. It would be expected that after that has been paid monies would be set aside to pay for future capital works.

The Committee is keen to continue to run Village events so that the Community can see the Hall is for them.

With the various house building projects being planned, we also believe we should be able to seek some of the S106 monies that would be available.

We would continue to seek grants where available if appropriate.
Has the work been a success? We think it has been a massive success, not only in the facility we have, but we believe is the best community facility on the peninsula.

Taking bias away surely one way is to see how the hall is now used. If you remember the slide earlier which showed the regular hirers, well this is the first slide of current users.

All parts of the community catered for – still scope to increase predominantly during the day with costs of hiring set at a level which should not discourage people hiring the hall.
There have been other groups that have come and gone in that time including
Craftastic
KENPO – Martial Arts
Salsa
Sound Hole
St James Pre School
Zumba
Ultimately it is up to others to decide if the project has been a success.
A number of questions/comments were raised prior to the presentation and answers are as follows:

Question – Why were the Parish Council not involved?
Response – The answer was that they were including receiving presentations of plan and having Parish Council representation on the Committee. Grants were made after a request and not just paid over to the Hall Committee.

Comment – It looks like a prison camp
Response – One of our objectives is to have a better Village Hall Sign to make it more obvious where the main entrance is. The building has been designed so that vandalism is best reduced which has been a success to date.

Comment – East side of the building is boarded up.
Response – These are windows that were boarded up many years ago. Eventually the Hall Committee would like to extend out from this wall to provide further storage at the back of the stage. This though was not deemed a major issue for the present.

Question – Why was it not knocked down and built differently and cheaper?
Response – There is no evidence that it would have been cheaper as the estimated cost we had at the beginning showed it could be considerably more. In addition obtaining funding to carry this out would have been harder if not impossible as previously explained regarding maximum grants available.

Question  – Why have sealed bids?
Response – This is the way you check that the bids are open and the funders expected it so they were confident the bids were fair.

Question – Did any of the Parish Councillors have a conflict of interest?
Response – No, the representatives were there to ensure that the Village interests were looked after. No monies were paid to any Councillor carrying out their duties.
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