Ashwell United Reformed Church

Photo:Hall exterior before refurbishment

Hall exterior before refurbishment

Jackie Embury

Photo:Hall exterior after refurbishment

Hall exterior after refurbishment

Jackie Embury

Photo:Main hall before refurbishment

Main hall before refurbishment

Jackie Embury

Photo:Main hall after refurbishment

Main hall after refurbishment

Jackie Embury

Photo:Main hall before refurbishment

Main hall before refurbishment

Jackie Embury

Photo:Main hall after refurbishment

Main hall after refurbishment

Jackie Embury

Photo:Kitchen before refurbishment

Kitchen before refurbishment

Jackie Embury

Photo:Kitchen after refurbishment

Kitchen after refurbishment

Jackie Embury

Photo:Disabled toilet and baby changing facility

Disabled toilet and baby changing facility

Jackie Embury

Photo:Revd Jenny, Jackie Embury, Oliver Heald MP and NHDC Representatives

Revd Jenny, Jackie Embury, Oliver Heald MP and NHDC Representatives

Jackie Embury

Hall refurbishment 2009

By Jackie Embury

The Ashwell URC Hall was refurbished in 2009, the Dedication took place on Sunday, 11 October 2009 presided over by The Revd Dr Andrew Prasad, Moderator of the Thames North Synod of the United Refomed Church and attended by representatives of NHDC, Oliver Heald MP, together with a large congregation of supporters, church members and villagers.

The service was followed by a celebratory meal at the Bushel and Strike.

Ashwell URC Hall Dedication – 11 October 2009 - vote of thanks given by Jackie Embury on behalf of the Elders and Fellowship.

On behalf of the Elders and Fellowship of Ashwell URC welcome to the re-dedication of our hall.  We give thanks to everyone here who has taken an active part in making this project happen either by advice, professional expertise, grants, donations, fundraising or physical hard work.  We have been on a very long journey sometimes wondering if it would actually ever happen. We put our faith in God and here we are three years on with a facility, which the whole village can enjoy.

I am sure the original members of this church, who first had the vision to build such a splendid hall, would be pleased that it is now going to serve the community well into the 21st century.

The idea all started three years ago when we had a disabled toilet facility installed to meet EU regulations.

We approached Jane Porter our Parish Clerk for advice regarding grants.  She kindly put us in touch with Stuart Izzard of the NHDC and with Stuart’s enthusiasm, support and professional advice we started the process of applying for grants, never realising it would all take so long.

We were put in touch with Peter Underwood of the NHDC and Emma Brooks of WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental Group) who kindly guided us through the application process to a successful outcome.

Cllr Andrew Young supported the project with a NHDC Community Fund grant.

We applied to the Merchant Taylors who also granted us funds via the Henry Colbron Trust.

We set about fundraising ourselves holding various events, concerts, bazaars, coffee mornings and a wonderful Strawberry Tea that we all enjoyed.

A number of villagers decided to support the project in practical and positive ways by holding a very successful and enjoyable Fashion Show raising over £1000. This was organised and put on for us by Ann Vidler and her Friendship Group, courtesy of Mr and Mrs Ross of Cream, Royston,

Then an afternoon tea party was organised by other villagers and once again it was a very happy and successful afternoon. 

The Ashwell Horseshow and the WI have supported our efforts and there have been a number of very generous, personal donations for which we are also grateful.

I don’t think we anticipated the amount of goodwill there is in the village for our hall, it has been a very comforting and rewarding experience.

I would also like to thank Oliver Heald our MP who helped with information regarding VAT, this is a very complex area and his advice was much appreciated, this issue is ongoing but we are hopeful of a good outcome in the form of a refund. 

Whilst this was going on we asked the village and regular hall users, using a questionnaire, how they would like to see the hall improved.

It was at that point that we realised it was going to be too much for us to project manage on our own so we invited Paul Morris of Templars to be our Agent to oversee the whole project, which he has kindly done.

When Paul Morris had finalised the plans we sent out to tender and choose M Spindler Construction Ltd who I think you will agree has done a wonderful job.  I have to say that Paul Morris and Martin Spindler were great to work with and I would recommend them to anyone considering undertaking such a project.

It is through their patience and professional expertise that we have ended up on time, within budget and with more than we could have hoped for.  Unfortunately they are unable to be with us today as they both have family celebrations to attend but, in their absence, I would like to thank both Paul and Martin and of course, Martin’s team of workers all of whom were very professional.

So thank you all for your support, I hope that you will now find an occasion to use these excellent facilities.

 

 

 

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