The Hall has hosted a playgroup for over twenty years. Last year, with the Hall in a state of disrepair, the playgroup was forced to close during the winter months. When the spring came around this year it became apparent that the previous volunteers were no longer available. Now that the Hall has undergone some vital repairs, Natalie Miller and a group of volunteers have re-launched the playgroup as the THGI Stay & Playgroup. She told us:
“I’m thrilled that work has begun and that the building is much more comfortable now. The first thing I did was to get the playgroup under the safe umbrella of TheHallGetInvolved. Any money we make now goes directly back into improving our hall for everyone. We have also replaced some of of our toys and rugs giving the place a fresher feel.”
Run by a group of parents, the THGI Stay & Playgroup is on Tuesday mornings in term time from 9:30am until 11:30am. Parents/guardians are expected to stay and the price is £2 per family to cover costs. New families always welcome – feel free to turn up on the day!
After reaching out target of £150k back in January this year, we’ve been gearing up to the moment when we actually own the hall. The exchange of contracts is now imminent and completion is expected to follow shortly after. Then, finally, we’ll be able to begin the essential repairs to make the building safe and dry so that other work can begin.
Although we had hoped that the hall could be closed for just a few days to do this work, we now have to close the hall for the whole of August. Why is this?
The hall doesn’t actually have it’s own electricity supply. Electricity is currently being supplied from the house next door and so we need UK Power Networks to connect us to the National Grid. This will involve digging up the road outside the hall and then other work to feed the supply in under the pavement. We’ll be rewiring some of the old lighting circuits, installing fire alarms and emergency lighting and fitting a 3-phase supply.
We are about to have a full condition survey carried out to give us priorities for essential works. Anyone using the hall knows the distinctly damp smell that greets you. It’s a combination of things that causes it, including leaks in the roof, rotten window frames and broken guttering. All of this needs to be addressed before we start internal repairs.
Perhaps the most welcome change will be to the toilets which are, to say the least, grim! We also have to get some form of emergency heating in place because we have no working system at the moment. [Local heating engineers please get in touch!]
It’s not all repairs though. We must ensure fire safety and security and so locks have to be changed, signs put up and extinguishers located. In all, quite a job to be ready for ‘business as usual’.
The plan is to set up a First Fix group that will make these repairs happen before the end of August. We’ll be starting this work from around the first week in August. We are definitely going to need volunteers to help with some of the work and we’ll be asking people to do specific jobs when the timetable has been finalised in the next week or so.
Other Building News
A group of architecture students from Brighton University have completed a full measured survey of the building and have started on a design that we can present to the community for consultation.
Hanover Community Centre invited us to see their eco refurbishments that have steadily improved the energy efficiency of the building. Really inspiring to see what can be achieved with determination and local volunteers. We’ve taken several ideas on board such as draught-proofing and insulation with lambs wool in the loft.
The building team is:
Amanda Nichols, Richard Davies, Grant Shepherd, Jonathan Dall, Nick Roughley, Dave Fellows, Polly Stebbens, Susan Corlett, Peter Golton.