A modern, well-equipped village hall in Sandleheath
The rural village of Sandleheath is the happy abode of some 600 residents who live in groups of houses along the B3078 about a mile to the west of Fordingbridge in Hampshire. Sitting on a bank of London clay, the village used to be a busy brick-making centre, but the various works closed in the 1960s. Now there is a small industrial estate in their place. The village also has a Shop and Post Office, a Uniting Church, a Sea Scout Centre and a Tennis Club. There is a handy recreational area known as The Common.
The village has a thriving Sandleheath Community Association that conducts village events.
The charming, Arts and Crafts-style St. Aldhelm’s building in Sandleheath was constructed in the early 1900s as a Church Mission Hall on land donated by the Hulse family of Breamore House, and the building was funded by local subscription. It was built 'by Sandleheath men from Sandleheath bricks', and the foundation stone was laid on 14th June 1907 by Lady Katherine Hulse, widow of the 5th Baronet Sir Edward Hulse, who was then living at Sandle Manor. Thereafter, St. Aldhelm’s was the parish church.
The idea of creating a much-needed village hall in Sandleheath had been germinating for some years, and in the 2010s when St. Aldhelm’s was no longer required for church use, some local residents saw an opportunity. They formed a charity and in November 2018 took out a 25-year lease on St. Aldhelm’s from the church authorities. The village gave this undertaking its wholehearted support and creating a village hall became a full community project.
The building was in considerable disrepair, so an extensive refurbishment works programme was devised to transform it. In conducting this programme, the trustees set out to create a contemporary amenity, but also to preserve this delightful parish landmark and reduce the building’s environmental footprint. Two and a half years later, having raised and spent some £200,000, that programme is complete.
St. Aldhelm’s was officially opened as a village hall on 23rd July 2021 by Michael Hulse of Breamore House, the great-great-grandson of Lady Katherine - a wonderful historical link. Our charity is managed by a number of local trustees and committee members. They aspire to make our village hall a successful, efficient but friendly community centre and an attractive, flexible venue for all to hire – a real asset in the heart of Sandleheath.