Describe your project
We need to replace aging, uncomfortable and in some cases unsafe, chairs in Thornham Village Hall. We are a community hub serving this sparse rural, coastal area from Dersingham to Wells next the Sea via Docking and the Burnhams. This funding would kick-start a rolling replacement programme over four years. We provide Village Cinema, Live by Satellite screenings, Soup & Sandwich Lunches, Winter Warmer Supper talks. The hall is also hired for Wedding Receptions, Wakes, Christenings, and other social and leisure events as well as meetings and occasional conferences. Many of our chairs are 8 years old, dating from old Drill Hall and need to be replaced urgently if people are to continue attending.
How will your project benefit your local community?
Our demographic shows we are an aging population. Thornham is a village of 460 people. More than twice the national average above retirement age. Many are 'older old'. Some 35% of village properties are single-occupier. Thus we have a population that needs opportunities for social interaction in a an easily accessible, warm and safe environment. Our sparse population means we also need to provide sport and leisure activities for families and children that are again accessible and safe. The hall and the activities, many organised by Trustees and the volunteer team, provide these. Village Cinema started in old Drill hall in 2012. The new hall, supported by Big Lottery Fund, KLWNBC, NRCC, NCC and fund-raising by local community opened in September 2013. Then we were able to expand activities as listed above. Cinema & Satellite are not only entertainment and arts but a lively meeting place for friends to meet. Soup&Sandwich is not only a three course meal and again a family and friends meeting but a valuable source of information; guests from LILY, Careline, Dementia UK. Older people many with mobility and health issues need these opportunities and need to sit comfortably and safely if they are going to sit for three hours. By replacing older and worn/damaged chairs we can encourage their attendance and ensure the sustainability through good attendance of the events that we run.
Please give details of any support you have from your local community
The community have been supportive from the beginning. An 88% vote to sell the old hall and build a new hall on the new playing field. Supporting fund-raising by organising and attending events from auctions to Music on the Field, Craft fairs, sponsored walks. Responding to community consultation to influence the design and functions of the hall. Some 70 people volunteered help at the last Fun Day. 20 volunteers support Soup & Sandwich which regularly has 80/90 guests. BagLadies of Thornham (a fund-raising group), Thornham United Charities and Thornham Parish Council all support TVHPF Individuals in the village have funded an outdoor table tennis table, outdoor fitness equipment, memorial benches.
How big is your community? And how many people will benefit from your project?
Soup& Sandwich 600, Cinema & Satellite 1,750, Winter Warmers 450. Approx 2,800. Annual Footfall through village hall at all events/activities 15,000 - 16,000.
Tell us what you intend to spend the money on.
This grant will kick-start the total project with purchase of 52 replacement chairs eg Nesbits U525 pack of 4 £203.96 inc VAT = £2651.48 The total project will see 120 new chairs ( our maximum seating capacity for lunches/dinners) Trustees will fund the following three years of the programme, starting in 2020, by budgeting for 25/20 new chairs per year at a total cost of £3,467.32 from our maintenance budget. This year the maintenance budget is largely taken by a new folding door to the furniture store. The new chairs will need to colour match existing chairs as this is a key factor in encouraging major income generators such as wedding receptions. Comfortable seating is clearly a major element in maintaining the hall's financial and social sustainability - if people cannot sit comfortably they will not come. this is to their social and emotional detriment and to our income stream and thus sustainability.
When and why was your project founded?
In 2009 Thornham Parish Council set up a working party to explore funding and building a new village hall on the new playing field. In 2011 this morphed into Thornham Village Hall & Playing Field, a registered charity. In 2013 the purpose-built new hall was opened.