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Village Diary

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Village Hall and Library Improvement Project

Friday 21st February 2020

Village Hall and Library Improvement Project

Image above for illustration purposes only

In September of last year the Hampton Wick Association won a Community Fund grant for much needed improvements to the facilities at our Village Hall (Bullen |Hall) and Library.

This was a result of 18 months of work by the HWA and the Friends of the Library, culminating in our submission in May 2019 which was widely supported by hundreds of individuals locally as well as our councillors and other local charities and organisations. Thank you to everyone who helped.

We bid for and won £86k from the Community Fund which receives its money from property developers: local developments over a certain size are subject to a levy which helps offset the impact of those developments. Most of the money goes to local councils to support infrastructure such as roads and schools, but a percentage must be set aside for projects led by local community organisations. Recipients in the past have included a local cricket club, an arts centre, a scout group and a nature reserve.

In addition to the £86k in cash the bid is supported by a further £21k in donations and HWA volunteer commitments.

The project will deliver the following improvements to Bullen Hall and the kitchen, lobby and toilet facilities it shares with Hampton Wick Library:

- Enlarged and modernised kitchen
- High quality, modern audio-visual facilities
- Modern lighting and new blackout blinds
- Enlarged and improved entry lobby
- Increased storage
- Modern, easy-to-handle and store, tables and chairs
- Remote controlled door entry security system

The main benefits will be:

Library to stay open at lunchtime
With a larger kitchen Library staff won’t have to close the Library for lunch. They will be able to take turns to have lunch in the new kitchen while a volunteer provides cover with the other Librarian.

Lower Hall hire charges
The remote-controlled door entry system and easy-to-handle chairs and tables will mean that a council caretaker won’t have to travel across the borough to open and close the hall for each and every booking. This is what makes the Hall so expensive to hire, and it also causes problems when the caretaker is delayed.

Increased use of the amenity
The improved kitchen and the audio-visual facilities will make the Hall much more attractive and practical for a wide range of uses, such as clubs, classes, children’s parties, concerts and public meetings.

Progress
HWA volunteers have been working with the Council’s property team to develop the tender documents. We have had a series of on-site meetings and, after several iterations, the final specification documents are in preparation.

We expect to have the specifications drafted and agreed by 21st February following which the timetable is:

21st Feb – send out tender documents to contractors

27th March – receive tenders and evaluate

17th April – appoint contractors

Work is expected to commence on site in late April. Before then we will have a clearer picture of the likely duration and impact of the works and we will be talking with all users of the Hall, as well as the Library staff, to make sure that everyone has alternative arrangements should either facility be closed for any length of time.

The HWA is planning a week-long Festival in September to celebrate our renewed Village Hall and Library! Please get in touch if you’d like to be involved.