COMPLETION OF THE SECOND PHASE OF REFURBISHMENT, 2014
The second phase of the refurbishment of Ottershaw Village Hall (Brook Hall) was completed on time on 31 August 2014 after the closure of the Hall throughout July and August to allow the work to be carried out. The first regular users returned to the Hall the following day! Everyone expressed their delight with the ‘new’ Hall and its facilities.
The closure of the Hall enabled the installation of thermal and acoustic insulation to the main hall; the replacement and upgrade of the main hall’s lighting and power circuits; the installation of new hall lighting; the replacement and enhancement of all the stage lighting, effects circuitry and associated controls; the installation of public address and audio-visual facilities, noise limiting controls as well as the installation of modern fire detection and alarm systems and repairs to the roof. In addition cracks in the front wall were stabilised and repaired; the entrance lobby was modernised and space created for an office/box office off the entrance lobby and for a store room off the corridor.
The Hall was fortunate to have excellent contractors. The insulation work was carried out by a specialist acoustic insulation company, Mica Projects Ltd of West Byfleet while the renewal and upgrading of the stage lighting infrastructure and the provision of public address and audio-visual facilities was carried out by a specialist theatrical contractor,10 out of 10 Productions Ltd. Both contractors were exceptionally helpful and pleasant to work with and flexible in working with each other.
In addition, a lot of time and effort was put in by committee members in design and oversight roles. The last week or so of August was especially busy, as the committee and the Hall’s cleaner put in many hours to ensure that non-contract areas were decorated to a high standard and the hall was thoroughly cleaned and prepared for re-opening. The finishing touch was the installation of new stage and hall curtains a few weeks after the re-opening, later in September.
Funding the work
The total cost of these works was about £90,000, of which the insulation accounted for around £50,000. The funding came from grants, donations, and local fundraising, with the two main areas of refurbishment funded by two grant-giving landfill companies.
A major grant from Biffa Award funded the thermal and acoustic insulation of the Hall. Gillian French, Programme Manager of Biffa Award said “Projects like this are important to local communities, which is why we look to invest in them. The project at Brook Hall will not only improve the comfort of the facility for those who use it, it will also reduce energy costs.”
CEMEX Community Fund funded the renewal and upgrading of the stage lighting infrastructure and the provision of public address and audio-visual facilities. At the formal opening, Dr Malcolm Aickin, chairman of the CEMEX Community Fund said “It is a delight for the CEMEX Community Fund to support the Village Hall in providing a continuing home for the Ottershaw Players, who have been successful for half a century, and the facilities for dance and drama classes and productions to introduce young people to the challenge and excitement of being involved in public performance.”
In addition to the large grants from Biffa Award and CEMEX Community Fund, Chertsey Combined Charity provided a grant towards a basic stage lighting rig for use by young people’s theatre groups. A grant from the Ottershaw Players funded a large part of the cost of the new stage curtains. Other organisations providing grants included Surrey County Council, the Garfield Weston Foundation and Ottershaw Community Partnership. There were also several generous private donations and contributions from local fundraising. The management committee is truly grateful to all those who provided funds for the refurbishment.
The official re-opening of the Hall
County Councillor Mel Few officially re-opened the Hall on 30 September 2014. Cllr Few followed the redevelopment of the hall with great interest and generously helped the management committee with their fund raising efforts from 2009. At the re-opening, he gave his heartfelt congratulations to the committee for all their efforts to transform Brook Hall into a modern village hall and a valuable asset for the community of Ottershaw.
The results of the first and second phases of refurbishment
The Hall has been a hub for community activities for over 80 years but the refurbishment has ensured that it is more popular than ever. It is now a warm and pleasant place to meet, with fresh, modern and convenient facilities. Being acoustically sealed, it can also host a greater variety of events than previously. The Hall has numerous regular users, ensuring that it is busy throughout the week. At weekends it is a very popular venue for children’s and family parties. The two refurbishment projects have seen the Hall completely modernised ensuring its continuing central role in the community of Ottershaw for many years to come.
Starting in 2010 the Halls refurbishment and extension programme resulted in the provision of new toilets with disabled and baby changing facilities, an additional meeting room and an enlarged and re-equipped kitchen. Other improvements include the correction of some subsidence and the provision of better heaters, replacement windows and new external doors. Significant additions to and replacement of furniture have also been achieved at minimal cost by the Management team.
Originally costed at about £265,000, the improvements so far have been achieved at a cost of only about £210,000, an achievement in itself! The developments to date have been made possible by the generous support given by Runnymede Borough and Surrey County Councils, The Runnymede Local Area Committee, The Chertsey Combined Charity, Chertsey Feoffees, Christ Church Ottershaw PCC, the Ottershaw Society, Ottershaw Social Club, Ottershaw Players, W S Hunts Ltd, Dunworth Building Contractors Ltd, Apperley Electrical Services the Garfield Weston Foundation, Allchurches Trust, and a large number of local residents. Many local businesses have helped in many ways, sponsoring publicity (Trident Garages), providing prizes for events (The Otter and Salon 7) etc.
Our next projects include improving the heat and sound insulation of the Hall, rewiring, and improvements to the stage and backstage area. The management committee are continuing to raise funds, making grant applications and seeking further support from the local community and corporate/individual donors so as to achieve these redevelopment goals. The plans have received the support of the whole village and will ensure that the Hall can continue to be a valuable asset for the local community well into the future.
The management committee welcomes any contributions towards the success of the Hall – whether they are financial contributions, support in kind or offers of expertise, knowledge or any other useful talents!
Picture of Hall before the start of renovations