Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Village halls granted £16,200 to spend on improvements

THE village halls in Goring and Woodcote are to receive grants totalling almost £16,200 for improvements.

South Oxfordshire District Council has awarded £9,999 to the trustees of the Goring hall for upgrading the stage area, including the lighting, sound and curtains.

Another £6,200 will go to the trustees of the Woodcote hall for new lighting and wiring and an overhead projector and screen.

The hall in High Street, Goring, which was built in 1900, has been undergoing renovation in stages since 2012, when the trustees opened a “garden room” in a rear extension along with a patio and improved lighting and security.

Since then the main hall and the adjacent Belleme Room have been refurbished with new lighting, windows and wi-fi internet access. The clock tower, which was added to the building in 1929, was renovated at a cost of £39,000.

Now the trustees want to improve the stage area to make it more attractive and bring it in line with modern safety and disability access requirements.

The stage will be reinforced so it can take a larger number of people, such as a jazz ensemble or choir, and an induction loop for hearing aid users will be installed

The current stage curtains will be replaced with fireproof versions with a pulley system that will be easier to operate. There will also be permanent electric cables and controls so individual hirers won’t have to install their own along the ceiling.

The total cost of the work will be £29,602 and the trustees will apply for a grant from Goring Parish Council as well as raising money themselves.

Goring parish councillor Bryan Urbick, who sits on the hall’s management committee, said: “We’re incredibly happy with the news. We’re planning to improve the staging very soon and will then hopefully start carrying out the remaining works in April.”

Work has already been carried out at the hall in Reading Road, Woodcote, including renovation of the small meeting room.

Now the trustees want to install energy efficient lighting and a projector with a motorised screen in the main hall. They say this will not only reduce the electricity bill by up to 90 per cent but also make the hall more attractive for hire and so increase its income.

The LED lighting will be dimmable so it can be used for everything from sports classes to community suppers and quizzes. The projector could be used for film screenings.

Hall users including the youth club, two pre-schools and elderly people who attend fitness classes suppport the improvements.

The total cost of the work will be almost £12,500 and the remaining funds will come from an anonymous donation of £5,000, a £1,000 grant from the proceeds of last year’s Woodcote Rally and £298 from the trustees’ account.

Parish council vice-chairman Geoff Botting, who sits on the hall management committee, said: “The current hall lighting is pretty energy intensive and bright so it’s fine for sports groups but not ideal for more intimate social gatherings. This is also key to keeping costs down as LED lighting uses so much less electricity.”

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