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Time for celebration in Aldham

PUBLISHED: 08:36 07 May 2014 | UPDATED: 08:36 07 May 2014

EXG MAY 14 RCCE

EXG MAY 14 RCCE

Archant

Residents of Aldham, near Colchester, have been in celebratory mood recently as a seven-year project to rebuild and refurbish their village hall was completed and the new-look hall was officially opened. The opening ceremony was led by Ray Pratt, chairman of the Village Hall Management Committee, who, alongside his fellow trustees of Brenda Brown and Anne Fulcher, spearheaded the successful fundraising campaign.

It was back in 2007 that serious structural problems were first identified in the main hall causing the walls to bow outwards and putting strain on the roof, which led to the installation of roof props. Something more permanent was plainly required to secure the future of a building, which is used for a wide range of community events and activities. 
The committee initially considered demolishing the hall and building a new one, but this proved too expensive, so instead a modified plan was adopted, to demolish the main hall, extend the pitched roof on the new hall to the original extension and refurbish the kitchen and toilets.

A fundraising programme was initiated, with events held in the hall in spite of the roof props. The help of RCCE’s Village Halls Adviser, 
Sue Sheppard, was also enlisted and a series of funding applications were made. The total cost of the project was £150,000 of which no less than £40,000 was raised within the community; a magnificent effort in a village with a population of just 500. The remaining funds were secured from Veolia Environmental Trust, Essex Environmental Trust, The Charles French Trust and the ACRE Village Hall Loan Fund.

Aldham is only six miles from Colchester, but it has no shop or school and, apart from the parish church, the village hall is the only meeting place in the parish.

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