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WATCH: Extensive renovation at Newburgh Village Public Hall taking shape

By Kyle Ritchie

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The next phase of work that is transforming Newburgh Village Public Hall is progressing well.

The long-term project to extensively renovate the space, which is used by a variety of community groups, will modernise its facilities.

The committee that is spearheading the project received a boost in early January, when it was provided with £100,000 from the Scottish Government's Community Climate Asset Fund.

This enabled the group to commence work on the second phase of the refurbishment, which is concentrating on making the property as energy efficient as possible.

This includes new insulation for the whole hall, installing LED lighting, new windows and reconfiguring the back kitchen and small hall area to make it usable for more people.

LED lighting has been fitted in the community space.
LED lighting has been fitted in the community space.

The hall committee's joint chairwoman Jane Bradford said: "The walls have been insulated, the new kitchen is installed and LED lights have been put in.

"Work has started on the new windows. We are actually keeping the wood frames as they are OK and will be replacing the glass to make them more energy efficient.

"There is a small amount of work to do on the kitchen to finish it off.

"Going forward the painting and decorating has to be done and the flooring."

The phase two work is expected to be completed by early in April.

Videos showing the work can be viewed here

New insulation has been fitted into the walls.
New insulation has been fitted into the walls.

Once restrictions allow the group is looking to invite the public to see the hall's transformation.

Phase one was completed just before Christmas and made the hall more accessible by moving the main entrance from the side to the original Main Street entrance, widening the entrance hallway and putting in new toilets.

Work on an access ramp into the hall was delayed but that is now nearly finished.

Work has begun on refurbishing the hall's windows.
Work has begun on refurbishing the hall's windows.

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 next phase of the work will see a new roof fitted on to a section at the side of the hall when funds allow.

A new kitchen has been installed in the hall.
A new kitchen has been installed in the hall.

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 the hall was used by 12 different weekly groups and two further monthly groups before lockdown restrictions came into force.

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.

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

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