For some years feedback at the annual village meetings has called for improvements to be made to the hall, particularly to the unsatisfactory heating and lighting, the rather cramped and primitive toilet facilities, which were not equipped for disabled use, the kitchen facilities which were not up to modern requirements and the inefficient use of space, which limits the number of people who can use the hall for performances and limits the number of events that can take place at any time to one. While successive Committees and volunteers have worked hard to improve facilities over the years, including increasing the size of the car park, installing planters and flowerbeds and free TrueSpeed broadband and an overhead sound and projection system, nonetheless, to address all the changes needed to bring it up to date and fit for the next few decades, required a programme of work that would allow all issues to be addressed and fixed in one start-to-finish operation.
For the last two years a Village Hall Improvement sub-committee has been working to get this stage, obtaining surveyors reports and professional advice, and developing a schedule of works that addresses as many of the issues as possible. Having sought and obtained a number of quotations, a preferred builder clearly emerged. What was missing was the funding to pay for it.
At the beginning of January the Village Hall trustees were in a position to make a formal application to Chelwood Community Fund for an exceptional grant of 75% of the cost of the proposed works as the Village Hall had managed to accumulate enough for 25% through its own means. I am delighted to say that the Trustees of Chelwood Community Fund agreed to make this
exceptional grant and it was possible to commence work without further delay.
So what is changing at Chelwood Village Hall?
1. New remotely controlled modern electric heating
2. New LED lighting throughout with new fire alarms and emergency lighting
3. New power supply, consumer unit, wiring and and outlets, all chased in
4. New lower ceiling to accommodate new wiring and lighting
5. Completely rebuilt toilets, including one fully disabled accessible
6. Relocating the existing bar to what is currently the storeroom, with the bar located where it currently backs on to the kitchen, thus converting the storeroom to a new bar and social area, also suitable for small meetings
7. The kitchen will move slightly towards the storeroom, have a new entrance from where the bar currently is, and be completely refurbished, with new plumbing, including under sink water heater, electric cooker, fridge and new fitted units.
8. New appropriate-to-use flooring to all areas apart from main hall, where beautiful parquet floor will be preserved.