Yes – and very smart it is too. There’s also a new boiler to keep the Hall nice and warm.
The old kitchen was at least 30 years old, unhygienic, worn out and detrimental to those who wished to hire the Hall or use it for fundraising, while the oil-fired boiler was 20 years old, inefficient, not fully functioning and uneconomic to repair.
The electrics in the kitchen have been updated and just about everything is new – new floor covering, tiling, cupboards, work surfaces, taps, sink and paintwork, making it clean, tidy, nicer to be in and far more attractive to hire.
Deliberately, though, there are no cooking facilities (other than a kettle and a microwave) as our research and past use of the hall showed anyone hiring it brought their own catering – now there is a clear, clean space and twice as many electrical sockets as before.
Planning for the new kitchen began in November 2014 with Harold Nickerson, a member of Hatley Parish Council, obtaining a first round of quotes based on the ‘keep it simple’ brief suggested by Hatley Village Association (HVA) which raises money on behalf of the Parish Council to fund improvements to the hall through talks, quizzes and other social activities.
Having established we needed around £13,000 for the kitchen, electrics and boiler, committee member Peter Mann was given the task of finding the money.
There was around £3,000 in the kitty, so it was ‘only’ a matter of finding another £10,000. Internet searches drew a lot of blanks – there’s plenty of money available from specialist causes to help the disadvantaged, but precious little for middle class people living in rural Cambridgeshire wanting a new kitchen and boiler for their main village amenity.
However, Awards for All England (part of the Big Lottery Fund) has a small grants programme of £300 to £10,000 which aims to ‘help improve local communities and the lives of people most in need’. While we may not have qualified for ‘people most in need’, we did, thankfully, qualify for improving community facilities.
Anyone who has ever applied for a grant will know the application form will be long and probing. Peter and fellow committee member John O’Sullivan undertook the task of making a plausible case. Their efforts passed Award for All’s scrutiny and eventually – these things always take ages – a grant just short of £10,000 was sent to Hatley Parish Council.
While the application was being processed, the HVA Committee looked afresh at who should install the kitchen and opted to use two local residents, each with many years’ experience in the building trade: John Wright, who had recently done a splendid job refurbishing his own home, and Mervyn Lack, a former building estimator who would look after the scheduling.
This team put in a very competitive quote and with Abacus Oil Experts from Bassingbourn, who fitted the new boiler, were able to complete the task in just over three weeks from stripping out the old kitchen and boiler at the end of February. Well done the team!
Hatley Village Hall now has a great new kitchen and a decent heating system, which would not have been possible without the grant from the Big Lottery Fund, to add to the new tables and chairs bought a couple of years ago (thanks to a Community Chest grant from South Cambs District Council) as well as new curtains and decorations.
If you’d like to hire the hall, it costs £10.00/hour for a clean, pleasant and roomy space which can seat 85 (or 120 standing). The floor is part carpet, part wood, making it ideal for discos.
There's more information about the Hall on this page.
So if you need a space for your special event, please do consider our hall. Mick Marshall, who is based at Hatley Village Shop, will be happy to show you around – and hopefully take your booking.
Please contact him on 01767 650 971, email@example.com.
Report and photos: Peter Mann