Cheddar Village Hall is an important central hub, used by the whole community for a wide range of activities and clubs. Heather Scourse tells us how a grant from The Somerset Fund is helping to sustain this important community space.
The whole village benefits from our hall and in normal times we have 28 groups who regularly use it. We have things going on here for all ages and interests, including a lunch club for isolated older people, lots of different exercise classes, children's ballet classes, several badminton groups, and line dancing, which is a great way to raise funds across the year. Normally we have two theatre groups and a pantomine every winter, a local brass band and occasional concerts - it's a real hub of activity and widely used by the community.
We've done a huge amount of work to renovate and improve the hall over recent years, thanks to lots of fundraising by the hall committee and the community. We've raised over £120,000 in total to put in a new roof, improve the drainage, wiring, and flooring and it’s been decorated by volunteers with materials which have all been donated by members of the community.
The grant from The Somerset Fund has helped to repoint our west-facing wall, originally built in 1893, which is considered iconic within our local conservation area. The wall had been poorly repointed in the 1930s and needs essential specialist attention to ensure it is completely sound and preserved for the future. So thanks to this grant we have our builder lined up to do the job, we’ve got our volunteers to support him and it should all be complete by the end of the summer 2021.
The Somerset Fund is great because the funding is flexible. Very few funders want to support what we call 'maintenance', which is why we're particularly thankful for this grant.
We know our hall keeps a lot of people going. It's what many people are missing during these times of lockdown. Lots of people stop us and ask when we're opening again because people are so keen to get back to the social aspects and the support and friendship the activities at the hall offer.
Ultimately, we have big plans for the future. We want to further improve the facilities, making the hall more accessible, and build a large new kitchen and new toilets. We want the hall to be affordable, accessible, safe and inclusive; the hub of our community. We'll have a lot more funds to raise in the future, but every small step takes us closer to our vision.”