Multi-use hall plan at Whitsome
Just seen this story in the Berwickshire on-line. This seems an excellent project and there may be a lesson for Hutton in it. No calls of 'sacrilege' about combining a church with a community centre as when it was suggested that the Church in Hutton might have a wider role than it enjoys at present. We are lucky in having such a fine building and it is a great shame that it is used so little. Churches should be at the heart of a community, not on the periphery. Perhaps Hutton might not support a shop but a post office with a few basic groceries might work and this could be included in any newhall or community centre. And then there is the old school-if the campaign to keep itopen fails there is another building going begging.
AN AMBITIOUS project to create a multi-use hall in Whitsome took a step forward last week when councillors agreed to a £1,000 grant towards a feasibility study.
The Whitsome Village Hall Management Committee want to create a new building to house a shop, post office and church as well as serving as a new village hall for the community. The project is likely to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds but initially the committee is looking to raise just £8,000 for the study. It sought £1,500 from Berwickshire Area Committee's share of the Community Support Fund which is allocated on a first come, first served basis but councillors were only able to approve £1,094 which was all there was remaining in the pot for this financial year. The rest of the money will be sourced from other grant-awarding bodies. Whitsome Village Hall Committee chairman Liz Walthew said: "This is great news. We have a long way to go but if we can get a really thorough study done then we will know whether or not what we have planned is feasible. "If we don't do this then we are at risk of having no community buildings left at all. The village hall is on its last legs and it would cost as much to repair as it would to build a new one. We also feel the church could be threatened with closure in the next ten years and the shop, which is in a portable cabin, is in a poor condition. "We have done some of our own fundraising and also applied to Awards for All which we are hopeful about. We applied to the Royal Institute of Architects in Scotland but it had unfortunately run out of money this year itself but it was very interested in the project." The feasibility study will assess the suitability of the site proposed and enable architects to draw up plans to suit local residents. The hall committee also plans to make the new building as sustainable as possible which will make it cheaper to run for the parish. Ideas include solar panels, a windmill and sourcing their own water supply from a disused borehole. Committee member Ian Jarvie added: "There is wholehearted support for this in the village. We had a meeting the other week when 50 people turned up and basically they were saying 'yes, please get on with it!' We also carried out a survey to see what people wanted. "The village hall is in a poor condition, as are the shop premises and the church. The way people are thinking right now is that we're likely to lose all three if we don't do something. They are also not that accessible for disabled people and both the hall and church are outside the village. What we're proposing is a new building on a central site which more people will be able to walk to."He continued: "The new hall being built at Foulden cost around £400,000 in total and I think we are probably looking at the same sum but it's impossible to say at this stage until we have the study done. "We will have to look at lottery funding obviously but I understand that it is hard to come by at the moment which is why we need to have all the ground work in place." Foulden Village Hall Committee was granted £300,000 from the lottery's Community Fund (now the Big Lottery Fund) in October last year, the largest amount ever received by a Berwickshire organisation and the most the fund can award. The money put them within reach of the £400,000 target to replace the hall and building work started earlier this year. The remainder of the money came from The Scottish Executive Local Capital Grants Scheme, The Robertson Trust, Scottish Borders Council Community Support Fund and Lloyds TSB as well as local fundraising. The new building will have more modern facilities and will meet new disability access requirements.
30 December 2004"