Pittington Community Association has secured a £50,000 grant from Biffa Award; a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund.
Together with a further £50,000 from Durham County Council as part of the asset transfer process this funding will allow the replacement of the ageing central heating system that many will know has become very temperamental! Not only will the new system be more reliable, it will be more efficient and more controllable leading to lower running costs.
The work will take place during the Summer holidays, starting on 20th July and lasting for eight weeks. The work will also include the removal of asbestos from the boiler house and other areas of the building.
The work will be carried out by RM Myers and Co based in Belmont Industrial Estate and is being managed by Boxx Consultants.
During the Summer holidays we are also hoping to undertake the installation of an accessible toilet and refurbishment of the existing toilet facilities. This work has been paid for, in part, by a grant from Carol Woods and Maureen Wood when they were county councillors for Sherburn Ward and was dependent on completion of the asset transfer process.
Due to the extensive nature of the work, the hall will be closed to all users from Monday 20th July until Friday 11th September. This means there will be no summer activity program this year but we hope to be able to repeat it next year. We have also taken the decision not to hold an Autumn Fair this year as we would have liked to hold it in early September.
The hall will also have restricted use for three weeks from Tuesday 29th September until Friday 16th October due to the Field House Farm opencast public inquiry.
As part of the Asset Transfer process that we are currently going through to try and keep the hall open we need to know what you all think about the Hall, how you use it and what else you would like to see us doing. This all goes to help us make the case to Durham County Council that we have a viable business model for the future. Please help us to keep the hall open by completing this survey and letting us know how we can improve what we are doing.
Please complete the survey by clicking here.
Your time is much appreciated and could make all the difference to keeping the hall open!
Pittington Village Hall Association is looking into the possibility of running a cafe from the hall. This is one of a range of opportunities that we are considering to help secure the financial stability of the hall as well as improving and extending the services we offer to the community.
We are looking for an individual or company to work with us to set up and run a cafe using the existing kitchen and canteen areas of the Village Hall following any required modifications. The details of the working relationship are up for negotiation, possibilities include a commercial lease, a joint venture community interest company and a profit share agreement.
As well as running the kitchen as a cafe there could also be opportunities for catering for parties and other events as a service to users of the hall. We would also be looking at ways of making the most of the times the cafe was open by providing additional benefits such as free internet access and a community book library.
At this stage we are inviting anyone interested in this opportunity to get in touch with the committee with their ideas of how we can take this forward together. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments and questions or to arrange to come and talk to us.
Last month Pittington Village Hall Association agreed to a timetable for Asset Transfer with Durham County Council. The first stage was to commit to the process through a letter of intent which was also completed last month.
The next stage is to submit a five year business plan to show the Council that we can make the Village Hall an independent, sustainable organisation for the foreseeable future. The business plan needs to be completed by 17th January. Also by this date we need to have identified sources of funding for any necessary capital works, for example repairing the roof!
The final report by Durham County Council into Community Rooms has proposed that Southbrook House, High Pittington be closed with immediate effect and that Durham City Homes will be allowed to redevelop the property as they see fit.
The full report which can be found here considers the future of 55 communal rooms in County Durham goes before the DCC Cabinet on 24th July. While most of the rooms will continue to be maintained by housing providers, and some will even receive extra support from providers, Southbrook House is one of two currently active properties where “the housing provider would wish to take immediate action to convert into living accommodation to help meet the high levels of housing demand, to demolish or find an alternative use for the benefit of local tenants.”
Unlike the original report into Community Buildings which proposed asset transfer for both Pittington Village Hall and Southbrook House, this report gives no option of asset transfer. DCC justify their decision bases on the relatively low usage of Southbrook House and it’s proximity to an alternative venue.
What is the Community Buildings Review?
In September last year the County Council began a consultation process aimed at determining the best way to manage the funding of their community buildings in the future. The consultation ran until December and the resulting report was published and agreed by the Council’s cabinet in February.
The Community Buildings Strategy is to target investment totalling £2.15 million to selected community buildings on condition that they undertake a process of asset transfer. Community buildings not selected for investment would also have the option of going down the asset transfer route but without any resulting investment. Community buildings that choose not to undertake asset transfer would face closure.
Ok, so we’re a little late, but Happy New Year to all from Pittington Village Hall!
With the consultation period of the Community Buildings Review now completed we are now waiting to see which approach the Council decides to take. The Community Buildings Strategy is scheduled to be presented to the Council’s cabinet on 8th February. Following that we should find out exactly how the decision will affect us and our funding.
Whichever route the Council takes it is almost certain that there will be less direct funding for the Hall. To compensate, this year will see us looking hard to find new ways of attracting support for the Hall and, in return, making sure that we are providing our community with the most useful set of resources that we can offer.
This is where you can help! We want to know what you want from your Village Hall! At the moment, you can comment on this website or use our Facebook page to let us know what you think. You can also send us a private message using the Contact Us feature of this site.
Annual General Meeting
If you have questions you’d like to ask face to face or want to get more involved in the running of the Village Hall the committee has it’s annual general meeting on Wednesday 18th January 2012 at 6:30pm in the committee room of the hall. All are welcome to attend. Due to changes in personal circumstances we will be looking for at least two new committee members at the AGM. If you are interested in joining the committee or want to find out more please use the form on the Contact Us page.
Well, certainly not yet, and hopefully not at all. What is happening is that Durham County Council are looking at more ways of reducing their costs and have started a consultation process on the future of the community buildings they support.
At the moment the county council take care of the building itself and the grounds while we pay for heating, lighting and costs involved in keeping the village hall running. The council’s favoured way forward is by way of an amended lease agreement, transfer all responsibility for repairs and upkeep to community organisations such as the village hall association.