Community hall project delayed due to coronavirus pandemic

PUBLISHED: 11:55 02 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:12 05 October 2020

An artist's impression of the plans. Picture: Congresbury New Village Hall DevelopmentTrust

An artist's impression of the plans. Picture: Congresbury New Village Hall DevelopmentTrust


A long-awaited project to build a new village community hall has suffered another setback.

Congresbury Village Hall Ltd, which has been campaigning for a multi-use building for the village’s sports clubs and community groups, says the coronavirus pandemic has impacted progression of the project and may well require changes to how the project progresses in the future as most grant funding programmes are temporarily closed.

The new building is designed to provide a large sports and activities hall which could also be used as a theatre, arts and cinema club venue, a community café, school holiday activities, meeting space and a bar as well as being a party venue for hire.

It will also be the home of the cricket, football and tennis clubs and various skittles teams.

Last year, Congresbury Village Hall Ltd asked villagers to vote on whether Congresbury Parish Council should take out a loan to pay for the creation of a community hub at the recreation club, in Stonewell Drive, and the costs passed onto homeowners through a council tax increase.

The plan, which has received more than £100,000 in pledges, was rejected by almost two thirds of respondents.

MORE: Villagers reject tax rise proposal to fund village hall.

The core part of the strategy is based on grant funding, a community share offer which has yet to be issued, section 106 funding and other fundraising activities. The development committee’s target is £1.4million for the build costs.

Before lockdown the committee was liaising with potential grant funders, but that was put on hold as funders are concentrating their efforts on emergency funding.

The project is eligible to apply for funding from Enovert and Sport England, while applications have been made for £160,000 from the Lottery Community Fund to cover completing the planning application, initial working capital, bar and kitchen equipment and fit out.

Charitable trust Power to Change has granted the project £10,000 and has also offered matched equity funding of up to £100,000, subject to a formal application and the funds remaining available.

The recently reopened community café, which was launched in February 2019 to raise cash for the project, has been awarded a £5,404 grant from National Grid to cover improvements, including purchasing a new coffee machine to save on rental costs and a gazebo to increase capacity and run fundraising events.

Congresbury Village Hall Ltd projects the hall will generate £173,000 of income in its first year.

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