Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Makeover for loss-making hall designed to increase use

WOODCOTE village hall is to undergo a £12,000 refurbishment.

The makeover is designed to increase use of the loss-making building, where the parish council and some community groups meet.

The management committee will redecorate the function room as well as install new carpets, furniture and an electronic display screen.

It will also add cupboards so that Woodcote Pre-School will have more storage space for its toys and equipment.

The work will be paid for with a £6,000 grant from South Oxfordshire District Council and contributions from both the Woodcote Rally and the Woodcote Correspondent.

It should be completed by April and the committee will then discuss possible improvements to the rest of the building and how to pay for them.

Committee member Geoff Botting, who is a parish councillor, said: “A full refurbishment would be an absolutely massive project so for the moment we’re looking to make improvements to the current facilities.

“This should make it more attractive for people to hire until we can get a team together to look at raising the kind of money we would need for something bigger.

“We do need to increase our income and have introduced an online system to make it easier for people to make bookings. We’re also looking to market it more.” The committee is urging more villagers to use the facility, which is almost 100 years old, as it is currently operating at a loss.

A spokesman said: “Like many buildings of its age, it not only needs constant care and attention to maintain the current facilities but investment to improve them.

“Operating costs, particularly for maintenance and utilities, continue to rise faster than growth in income, meaning it costs more to run than it earns. This is unsustainable and must be corrected.

“Ideally, the additional income will come from increased bookings but the outdated environment is difficult to sell to potential new hirers. We hope the current project will help to attract new hirers.”

For more information, visit www.woodcotevillagehall.co.uk

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