(Updated: November 2017)
The trustees and volunteers that form the management committee of Chilworth Hall have, over the past couple of years or so, carried out the first two phases of a programme of refurbishment and modernisation of the building and its facilities, which had been little changed since it was built in the early Sixties.
Works completed during the first phase, carried out over the summer of 2015, included:
Solving a slight subsidence problem, and addressing the drainage problem that contributed to it.
Repairing the disabled access ramp.
Moving a fire escape from the end of the building to one side so as to remove a pinch point on the access road, and allow for a pavement.
Replacing the folding doors between the large hall and the small hall with proper soundproof ones so that both halls may be let simultaneously.
Refinishing the sprung wooden floor in the main hall, and re-flooring the small hall to align with it.
Upgrading the audio-visual equipment and stage lighting
The cost of the first phase was in excess of £100K which was met with generous grants from Viridor, Test Valley Borough Council and the Parish Council which augmented the Hall’s own reserves.
Phase two, was carried out in the summer and autumn of 2016, without closing the Hall. A similar sum again was expended, on:
Re-roofing all of the flat-roof parts of the building using modern insulated materials, with a 20-year guarantee.
Extending the store room, which was way too small to hold all of the equipment that regular users wished to keep there (Zimmer frames, table-tennis tables, toys for playgroups etc etc.)
The second phase works were accomplished with the financial support of Test Valley Borough Council and Chilworth Parish Council. As these phases progress, the lighting, wiring and decorations are also being brought up to modern standards.
The third (and final for now) phase is ongoing, in piecemeal fashion, to include:
Replacing the gents, ladies and disabled toilets.
Redecorating the lobby area
Remodelling the committee room
Improving the car park entrance and exit, and rearranging/remarking the car park
Replacing the external lighting at the same time as the soffits, facias and guttering.
The committee has not sought further grants from public bodies, and is aiming to complete the third phase using current reserves (while respecting its published reserve policy). For now, the imperative to raise major sums for refurbishment is waning although it will always be necessary to hold fundraising events from time to time in order that proper maintenance can be afforded. Support for such events on the part of the local community is obviously vital, and committee members are very grateful to all those who have already turned out in numbers to support various entertainments, sales and bazaars.