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Renovation of Newburgh Village Public Hall completed


By Kyle Ritchie

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A project to breathe new life into Newburgh Village Public Hall has been completed.

First mooted in 2016, the extensive renovation has seen the community space totally transformed.

The work has seen the building modernised and is now as energy efficient as it can be.

Co-chairwoman of the committee Jane Bradford is glad to see the completion of the project, which has seen the community rally round to ensure it could become a reality.

She said: "It's great to see the hall renovated after it was first discussed in 2016.

"The hall was in a right poor state and the work was badly needing done. It needed re-wired and it was leaking all over the place.

"It was in danger of having to be shut, so its really good to see it all done.

"We managed to get the work done over lockdown when people weren't using the hall anyway.

"The first phase made the building more accessible this included installing a ramp at the entrance; moving the main door from the side of the building to where it was originally at the front of the hall; widening the corridors for wheelchair access; new toilets and air source heat pumps.

"The second phase focused on energy efficiency; the whole hall was insulated, LED lighting was installed throughout; new glazing fitted in the windows; and the back hall and kitchen were reconfigured to make it more usable.

"We are really grateful to the community for all its support."

To fund the project the village held a number of fundraising events.

The committee was also successful in securing grants. In early January it received £100,000 from the Scottish Government's Community Climate Asset Fund, which enabled phase two to progress.

Last summer, the committee was successful in receiving funding of £90,000 that allowed it to complete the works in phase one.

The money came from a mix of developer obligations, a grant from the Robertson Trust and local fundraising within the village. It also received a small development grant from the Scottish Government Climate Challenge Fund.

Furthermore the group received nearly £14,000 from the Vattenfall Unlock Our Future Fund for the installation of a new air-source heat pump system.

The hall is welcoming back children's dance classes this week and will be used as a polling station in Thursday's Scottish Government election.

Other groups that use the hall will be able to return once coronavirus restrictions allow.

Going forward the committee is looking to install solar panels on the building to make it self-sufficient.

At the start of the project in 2016 the committee held a public open evening to ask local people what they wanted from the hall going forward. The main points that were outlined were improved accessibility and modernisation.

Plans were drawn up and submitted to Aberdeenshire Council in April 2017, which were approved, and the fundraising got under way.

Before Covid-19 restrictions came into force the hall was used by 12 different weekly groups and two further monthly groups.

This includes fitness classes; guitar lessons; bowling; badminton; pre-school groups; and the Scottish Women's Institute.

The building was also used for community fundraising and social events including comedy nights, ceilidhs and bingo.

Local fundraising events for the refurbishment project run by the hall committee included afternoon teas, ladies days, coffee mornings and pop-up bars. Also community groups donated to the hall fund from their events and activities.

Off the back of the funding for the hall, a new group, Newburgh Aberdeenshire Climate Action, has been formed in the village, which is looking at ways in which the community can combat climate change.

A new website is being developed which will provide more information and people will be able to book the space through this. For more details in the meantime visit the hall's Facebook page www.facebook.com/NewburghVillageHall

Related stories: WATCH: Extensive renovation at Newburgh Village Public Hall taking shape

WATCH: North-east hall receives £100k for refurbishment work


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