Greenham Common Trust Supports New Village Hall Through £125,000 Grant
Neighbours in the small village of Aldworth are celebrating now their new, environmentally-friendly village hall is ready for use.
It is the end of a remarkable journey which saw fundraising for the project start in 2007. Villagers now have a modern, safe, and warm hall in which to meet, take pilates classes, attend mother and toddler groups, and even celebrate a wedding.
The former hall, which was more than 90 years old, had served the small village well, but it was time to replace it with a building fit for the area’s growing needs.
A building survey had revealed the unhappy news that to upgrade the existing structure would cost around £80,000, so the decision was taken to look at rebuilding.
When the parish originally approached Greenham Common Trust, they submitted plans for a simple, modular wooden structure. GCT was instrumental in guiding them to opt for a more conventional construction, and a building that would stand the test of time. It pledged £125,000 to the project from its Community Buildings Improvement Programme.
Nick Williams, from Aldworth Village Hall Management Committee, said: “The beauty of the hall now is that it is the right size. It is about 20% larger, but there is a second meeting room which also doubles as a changing room, and there’s a fully functioning kitchen, and proper toilets and showers.
“The grant from the Trust meant a great deal to us. We’d had rough estimates, and those costs seemed a lot to be collected. If the Trust hadn’t made its original pledge, we would not be where we are now. It gave confidence to other investors that this project was viable, and that opened up the possibility of securing other grants.
“We are quite isolated here, and without this support, we would probably have lost our village hall.”
Groups that had abandoned the dilapidated structure are eagerly returning, and the new hall hosts a regular Saturday market for groceries, vegetables and other crafts.
Nick added: “It looks like the hall will eventually be self-sufficient, given the number of enquiries we are getting.”
Glenn Clarkson, then chairman of Greenham Common Trust’s Distribution Committee, said: “Given the previous dimensions of the old hall, and its original purpose, the villagers had done incredibly well using it for a variety of uses for as long as they did.
“Through hard fundraising, and strategic grant applications, they now have the space they really need, and this hall will be cherished for generations. We were very happy to have helped kick-start this project, and to have given them help when they needed it most.”
The official opening of Aldworth Village Hall was in March 2016.