Funding supports heart of the community Memorial Hall
In August 2022, Currie Memorial Hall in the village of Lilliesleaf was awarded £6,500 from the Langhope Rig Community Benefit Fund to construct a pathway to the hall to improve pedestrian access, and to relocate community recycling facilities.
The Langhope Rig Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund supports community projects benefitting those living in the areas of Ettrick & Yarrow, Lilliesleaf, Ashkirk & Midlem, Upper Teviotdale and Borthwick Water, Hawick and Denholm & District.
Currie Memorial Hall, in the village of Lilliesleaf, is the only community space in the village available for community functions and events. The village hall’s activity schedule was heavily impacted by Covid 19, but it is now back to running a fortnightly coffee morning, crafting evenings, weekly parent/toddler groups and a monthly brunch.
It also holds ad hoc events such as markets, quizzes, and evening entertainment such as theatre company visits. The main hall also provides an additional space for the local primary school to do physical education and use as a practice area for concerts/shows. As well as this, the hall is also available for private hire to the local community for functions and events.
The village hall has been used for a long time by the local primary school as an additional space for physical education and an expressive arts space. However, there was no physical link between these spaces without walking on the main road which runs through the village. The aim of the project was to create a safer route to and from the school for all pedestrians.
In 2016, the village hall was gifted land from the owners of 'The Schoolhouse' to create a safer route to and from school via the creation of a new footpath. The village hall committee discussed the project with a local landscape gardener with the aim of creating a disabled friendly level access footpath. They also sought to maintain as much of the onsite materials as practicable possible as well as maintaining the mature trees within the path location. The footpath will be maintained by members of the village hall committee.
The footpath was completed in Summer 2023. The new path has been well received by the community, particularly by the primary school and the parents and toddlers’ group. It has made a huge difference to road safety in the village and is often commented on by community residents.
Feedback from a teacher at Lilliesleaf Primary School was very positive :
Thank you very much for putting this pathway on the road. It makes getting from school to the village hall much safer as we don’t have to go on the road. It also helps children coming to school by car or on the buss by giving them a pathway to walk on. Teachers and children use it every day. Teachers use it to go from school to their cars in the village hall car park. It gives a place for children playing after school to walk, keeping away from cars.
In August 2022, an award of £8,467 was given to cover the cost of a feasibility study to plan and cost the refurbishment of the building incorporating energy saving initiatives.
The hall building has not been refurbished for many years and has a very old, inefficient and expensive oil heating system. The fabric of the building has deteriorated over time and now requires considerable investment to ensure it is fit for purpose for the needs of the local community in the 21st century and that it complies with current health, safety and hygiene regulations.
Currently, the building lacks insulation and an affordable heating system, has only single glazing and suffers from water ingress and damp issues. It is unusable during the winter months and mould has to be scraped off the main hall floor before use. Additional heating is required to bolster the oil system in the form of electric blow heaters, which are both expensive and inefficient.
Currie Memorial Hall received an award to commission a full architectural building survey, procurement of an asbestos survey, a full structural survey and a costings breakdown provided by a qualified quantity surveyor to assess the costs of carrying out a full refurbishment of the premises.
The aim of the project is to use the feasibility survey and the plans and proposals it provides to apply to a number of funding partners to pay for a complete refurbishment of the premises, so it becomes energy efficient and less costly to maintain.
The feasibility study, surveys and costings took place during 2022 and early 2023. The hall committee is now in a position to take forward its plans to restore and improve the building.
Finally, in August 2023, a further award of £3,000 was made from the Fund to cover the costs of cutting back the overgrown vegetation at the back of the hall and installing an access path.
The land at the back of the village hall had become very overgrown, and it was difficult to carry out inspections of the building and conduct routine maintenance such as gutter clearance. The recent building survey report detailed that the gutter was filled with water and some vegetation was also evident. In addition to this, the area around the hall was very untidy.
The funding will allow the area around the hall to be tidied up by cutting back vegetation and installing an access path, resulting in the hall being an attractive place to use and hire out. Once the worst of the vegetation is removed by a professional landscaping company, then the hall volunteers can maintain the area and the path in the future.