The project has transformed the atmosphere of St Edmund’s Community Hall, helping to bring it back to life and reposition it at the heart of the local community.
Residents of Windmill Hill and the surrounding areas now have access to a flexible, practical and comfortable space that can accommodate a wide range of services and activities.
Installing proper kitchen facilities means that local residents do not necessarily have to travel into the centre of town to meet and socialise. The kitchen was fitted to a commercial standard and there is an aspiration to set up a café there in the future, providing a real social hub for the community.
The new height barrier and resulting absence of live-in vehicles in the car park have been welcomed by local residents, who are now using the parking area again for its intended purpose.
The hall now has bookings every weekday evening and most daytimes, with regular users including the YMCA-led Windmill Hill Youth Club, local Morris dancers, a self-help group, a dance class, a music class, a book club, a life-drawing class and a yoga class. There are also numerous one-off bookings from locals for events and private parties, plus some residents are exploring the possibility of organising a community curry club and a regular car boot sale.
The project has not only provided improved facilities for local groups, but has renewed the hall’s place as a central hub for the community, run by locals for locals.
Two Windmill Hill residents have since expressed an interest in joining the hall’s committee, each representing a very different part of the local community. There are also a number of other residents who are keen to volunteer their time further improving the outside area and establishing a community garden space.
St Edmund’s Community Hall is a registered charity so it is very affordable to use. Through this project, it has been returned to the community as an asset and a welcoming community space once again.