Widecombe Community Hall CIO (registered charity number 1182621) was formed in March 2019 to progress the work of the Steering Group, by completing the design and build process and taking on the eventual running of the new hall. Eight charity Trustees meet regularly to review plans, co-ordinate fundraising efforts and manage the project of getting a new community hall up-and-running for the local community.
How it all began
In May 2016 an open meeting was held at Widecombe Church House to discuss the needs and views of Parishioners on the existing provision of community hall facilities within the Widecombe area and ideas for improvement.
Whilst it was appreciated that we are fortunate to have usage of such an historic building which is full of character available for local community groups and private hire, some challenges were discussed:
Access to the first floor for those with impaired mobility
Lack of flexibility for usage – two meeting rooms of the same fixed size which cannot be hired independently
Relatively small floor area which excludes some functions and activities
High running and maintenance costs & heating with limited options to improve within a listed building
Limited direct on-site parking with direct competition during Church functions
Minimal secure storage for regular use community groups
Low capacity, first floor kitchen adding complexity when catering for large groups
A small steering group of volunteers was formed to assess these comments and see if there is the possibility, within Widecombe, of developing additional community resource to increase the facilities available within the Village.
Following the completion of the formal Feasibility Study and a parish vote, there was clear evidence of support for proceeding with the project.
Widecombe Community Hall CIO was formed in March 2019 and approved by the Charity Commission. The Hayes Field was generously gifted to the charity by Richard & Valerie Casey in December 2019.
Community feedback has been used to co-design a hall that meets the demands and needs of the parish – a space suitable for large social gatherings, separate meeting space, accessible facilities, ample storage, energy efficient and low maintenance design, integration of renewable technologies and appearance to be in keeping with our beautiful Dartmoor surroundings. Plans and supporting evidence were drawn up and a detailed planning application was submitted. This was approved unanimously by DNPA Members in June 2020.
Following the inevitable delays and restrictions that Covid-19 imposed on us all, significant voluntary groundworks commenced and the site is now fully drained and levelled, with a brand-new access created onto the site.