A New & Improved Village Hall for Wivelsfield
Congratulations to Wivelsfield Village Hall Committee, who re-opened the hall on 7th January after modernisation and extensions costing almost £900,000. Built in 1978 the hall was so successful that it no longer had enough space. The hall lacked accessible facilities, double glazing, storage and modern catering facilities. The project took over 6 years to get on site and was supported throughout with advice from members of the AirS Sussex Community Buildings Advisory Group. Previous Chairmen Richard Spencer and Derek Stephenson were active members of the group, attended village hall conferences and visited other halls, sharing their own experience while gathering tips.
The hall was opened by Maria Caulfield, MP, who has attended events at the hall and had supported efforts by AirS and SCBAG to obtain a grant scheme to compensate halls for non-recoverable VAT on improvements. The new Chairman, Cameron Wallis, thanked the community and funders for their support for the project. At 22 Cameron is probably the youngest Village Hall chairman in the UK and “gained his spurs” helping out as a teenager at the Village Fair. The committee’s excellent working relationship with Wivelsfield Parish Council was an immense help in raising the considerable amount needed, because their strong support gave confidence to the committee and other funders that the project was achievable.
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The hall has been extended at each end and to the rear with a full accessible glazed entrance hall. The enlarged kitchen is equipped to catering standards, the 40 year old storage heaters replaced with modern electric panel heaters and the hall is now double glazed and insulated. To the rear of the stage, which is used by Wivelsfield Little Theatre and events such as weddings, the enlarged meeting room doubles up as a changing room. An office has been provided for the Parish Council and a new upstairs meeting room and extra storage has been created.
This Committee has always been dynamic: It built a Youth Centre; was the first in Sussex to receive a Hallmark award (a hall quality assurance scheme) and the first to install solar panels. Committee members have supported volunteers at many other halls to put on film nights. Unsurprisingly the hall is extremely well used and with the recent impressive upgrade is certain to be serving the community and bringing its people together for many more years to come!