Horam Village Hall’s Improvement Project – An Overview
Over the past few years, the management committee of Horam Village Hall have committed considerable time and effort to bringing the hall up-to-date with a number of upgrades that meet the needs of the 21st century user. The result has been a facility which is now well placed to meet the needs of the communities that it serves.
This is the story of the path they have followed and their achievement in their own words:
Our project has been an essential refurbishment to Horam Village Hall’s interior, to better meet the needs that the community users and residents have identified. The hall serves Horam village as well as neighbouring settlements of Maynards Green, Marle Green, Vines Cross and Burlow. Through questionnaires in local shops and at our local fun day, residents comments as well as those from our existing user groups, we established they value the hall as essential, central focus for village life, but the interior affected their using it to full extent. They told us they need a more welcoming and accessible environment to encourage new users and groups, a wider range of social and wellbeing activities.
From this engagement process we identified four improvements that we would try and get funding:
The hall curtains were damaged, stained and shrunk. With preschool in situ daily, we wanted to replace the curtains with new ‘safe-by-design’ blinds that that meet the latest standards in respect of child safety. By choosing blinds these can be pulled up when preschool is in the hall preserving them for use when the hall is hired making it more aesthetic for hirers’ special occasions. It would make it more welcoming space for group activities
To redecorate the interior of the hall so as to modernise it so it is brighter, more welcoming; where residents take pride in community activities; celebrate their own special events and to increase private hirers
We decided the existing disabled toilet was not up to current standards so to improve accessibility to activities/events for people with disability or frail we would install a facility that meets regulations.
We were keen to upgrade the existing lighting to LED to improve the setting for hirers as well as benefit from the energy efficiency and reduced costs. We wanted to install LED downlighting that is adjustable for brightness and colour temperature to improve the quality of the lighting to meet the needs of the various activities the hall is hired. The reduced electricity expenditure would help ensure the financial viability of the hall.
We have been successful and are grateful to have received funding from Horam Parish council, Sussex Community Foundation and Bernard Sunley which allowed us to redecorate the interior of the hall and have beautifully blinds, hand-made locally by Hillery Ashdown Soft Furnishings, a subtle charcoal colour they will compliment any colour scheme by the hirer.
We received a grant from LoCase towards the costs of the energy-efficient lighting. The LoCASE programme is being funded by the European Regional Development Fund 2014-20. It is a partnership between Kent County Council, East Sussex County Council, Essex County Council, Southend-on-Sea Council, Thurrock Council and the University of Brighton. LoCASE provide a consistent, accessible business support programme across the SELEP area that helps businesses optimise the use of resources and adopt eco-innovative and low carbon solutions in ways that improve business performance in terms of resilience, profitability and competitiveness, at the same time contributing to the protection and preservation of the environment.
We are about to embark on the second phrase of fundraising as we hope to refurbish the ladies and gents toilets, re-sand the floor and erect roadside signage for the hall which is vital.
Overall, we hope that the improvements will provide a better shared environment for young and old; our current pre-school, clubs and society users. It will help increase footfall and provide an environment to re-establish groups and widen activities. It will provide a standard of venue private hirers expect, to sustain the hall, which together with the football, tennis, bowls and allotments is a vital community resource.