Sandleheath village hall opens in style

A modern, well-equipped village hall in Sandleheath

Sandleheath village hall opens in style

News Posted: 30 July 2021

Guests meet for coffee.

Our village hall was launched at an Opening Ceremony on 23rd July 2021 following a comprehensive Refurbishment Programme that prepared the building for its new role. The works were made possible by a Fundraising Appeal that raised some £200,000 in two years – an astonishing achievement. The sum included £11,000 generously donated by members of the Sandleheath community, as well as grants from a number of organisations, trusts and foundations.

The hall was officially opened by Michael Hulse of Breamore House, the great-great-grandson of Lady Katherine Hulse who laid the St. Aldhelm’s foundation stone in 1907 – a great historical link. Also present was Cllr Alan O’Sullivan, Vice Chairman of New Forest District Council, and representatives from Hampshire County Council, Sandleheath Parish Council and organisations that had supported the Fundraising Appeal, as well as the hall trustees and other hall supporters.

Guests gather in the hall.

In a speech given during the ceremony, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Keith Bennett, welcomed Michael and the other guests and applauded the many councils, businesses, trusts, foundations and individuals who had made generous contributions to the Village Hall Refurbishment Appeal. He highlighted the fact that the Sandleheath community itself had donated some £11,000 of the total raised. He also thanked the three councils present for the steadfast and enthusiastic support that they had given the project throughout its progress.

Michael Hulse unveils the plaque.

Keith told the assembly the story of the hall’s development that had begun with the trustees taking out a 25-year lease on St. Aldhelm’s in 2018 and had now reached its happy conclusion. He said: ‘Throughout this process, we not only wanted to create a stylish, modern community amenity, but also to sensitively preserve this much-loved landmark to be enjoyed by generations to come. I hope you will agree that we have met both ambitions.’

Before unveiling a commemorative plaque, Michael Hulse said that it was good that St. Aldhelm’s will have a new use and that ‘the building can benefit the community still’. He also applauded the trustees and all those that have supported the project for creating a magnificent village hall, which he hoped would thrive for years to come.

Our opening made the front page of the Forest Journal and is also on its website.

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Photography: Lizzie Bland

Tagged with: #Refurbishment