The village of Wingerworth, 3 miles south of Chesterfield, has a Hall that has been owned by Wingerworth Parish Council since 1922. Throughout its history the Parish Hall has been in continuous use as an important community facility and centre of the village's cultural life.
The principal reason for the Parish Council's decision to undertake the refurbishment and upgrade, is that the population of Wingerworth and its immediate environs has been steadily increasing since the last time the Parish Hall was refurbished, over 30 years ago. However, in the last 10 years, several new housing estates have been built both within the village itself and along the A61 corridor between Clay Cross and Chesterfield. Since the 2011 Census there have been approximately 1,300 planning applications agreed for new houses (source: Planning Office), many have already been completed. Based on the England average of 2.4 people per household, this would increase the village population by circa 3,000 (50%). This continuing development has increased pressure for services, including those provided by the Parish Council and the Parish Hall in particular, where users are now looking for an up to date building with modern facilities in a clean, warm, accessible and inviting environment.
Wingerworth Parish Rooms has been a constant challenge since its humble beginnings and its success today is largely due to the vision and commitment of successive Parish Councils working closely with the local community. Nevertheless, it has been almost 50 years since the Hall was built, and 35 years since the facilities were last updated. Despite routine maintenance since, the facility is now tired and a major overhaul is needed to bring it up to a modern standard that meets the needs of a rapidly expanding and diverse population.
The facilities can almost be defined by the periods of their historical development; a community room (used historically for community and social events, and as a classroom); a meeting room for about 12 people (site of the shoeing sheds); and the post-70's Hall for about 350-400 people.
Today the Parish Hall remains a vital part of the village, and provides a venue for many community activities, including hosting two local badminton groups, a weekly mother and toddler session, a ladies club, Wingerworth Community Association, a music club, Wingerworth Library, a Ju Jitsu group, a horticultural society and Wingerworth Table Tennis Club, amongst others. It is also host to some of the biggest events in the village diary, including the annual craft fair, an alternative flower festival, a produce show and the Annual Remembrance and Christmas events.
The Parish Hall is also the venue for all Parish Council meetings and committee meetings, along with other ad hoc events, such as providing a polling station for elections, hustings, consultation meetings, charitable events, community talks from PCSOs or other local authorities, and a venue for local residents to hold parties, although these have been fewer in recent years due to the dilapidated state of the Hall.
The plans include reconfiguring the toilets to make them more accessible for all users, providing a welcoming entrance and reception area and reconfiguring the plant room and kitchen to make more efficient use of the space available.
The Council wishes to provide the community with a modern, fit-for-purpose venue, to bring the increasing population of Wingerworth together. Offering village residents and local businesses a splendid venue for all occasions; to celebrate village events and provide a location for local groups to meet. The Council hopes to increase the volume and variety of activities on offer to cater for all sections of the community, in an updated, energy efficient and multi-purpose building. The remodelled Hall will also provide a location for Parish Council staff to work from, so residents have a local point to go to access information about services and to report issues. The Council are committed to supporting the future of the Parish Hall and to ensure its future sustainability. They intend to do this by preparing a maintenance programme with support from the building contractors, following the completion of the project, and allocating a budget for the ongoing maintenance. The Council will also review the management of the facility and may consider appointing a Parish Hall Management Committee to be responsible for all aspects of managing the facility.
Benefits to the Community
The Council hopes to increase usage of the Hall, and alongside this increase revenue. However, more importantly the Council hope to provide the community with a welcoming location to come together for a variety of reasons. This includes building upon the number and range of village-wide events, and increasing the volume and variety of smaller group activities, but all with the ultimate aim of bringing a community together and reducing some of the issues currently facing society. The Parish Council believe that in providing a range of activities that suit all members of the community, they can support their aims to increase community engagement, activity and reduce social isolation. This is reflected in the pricing strategy with preferential rates for community events and groups, to make these more affordable and increase the use for such events. The Council also plans to encourage new groups with incentives, including offering the Hall for the first couple of meetings for the group for free, utilising S137 funding and providing resources on the website to support new groups (for example having templates for constitutions).
Climate Change Act 2008 - The refurbished Parish Hall will also provide residents with a community building that is energy efficient and meets the objectives of the District and County Councils Climate Change Plans to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, and to meet government targets of reducing emissions by at least 80% by 2050. The Council propose to do this by updating the mechanical and electrical systems to meet current industry standards. This includes installing LED lighting and sensors throughout the building, to reduce usage in dormant periods, installing a smart heating system to manage the heating requirements across the different rooms, and insulating the building and roof to reduce energy wastage.