Trustees need to find around £70,000 to help pay for Clifton Village Hall revamp

Trustee Francis Buck, treasurer Joe Rice and chair Clare Ashton pictured at the hall (LDRS)
Trustee Francis Buck, treasurer Joe Rice and chair Clare Ashton pictured at the hall (LDRS)
By Joe Locker, Local Democracy Reporter

Trustees looking after the Grade-II listed Clifton Village Hall say they need to find up to £70,000 to help pay for a new project to expand the “oversubscribed” community building.

The village hall was built in 1871 and used as a school, before numbers began to dwindle when nearby estate schools opened.

When it finally closed in 1956, there were just nine pupils on the school roll, but today it is used as a busy community facility.

The landmark is one of the first Nottingham historic buildings visitors see when driving into the city along the A453 Remembrance Way.

The Clifton Village Hall and Schoolhouse Trust has managed the building ever since the Clifton Estate transferred ownership in 1958.

Nottingham City Council has granted it permission to commence a project to build a new entrance and multi-use room, extend the kitchen and create more storage space.

While the Trust now has planning consent, chair Clare Ashton told the Local Democracy Reporting Service they still have a financial shortfall to fill to help get spades in the ground.

“Unfortunately costs have obviously gone up,” she said.

“I have to say because we are all volunteers here all the money that is raised through hire fees is reinvested in the hall and we have been accumulating that over a period of time.

“In addition to that we have been doing our own fundraising like the raffles at our village events, the sale of our garden calendars, and we receive quite a number of donations.

“But we have got a shortfall. We are negotiating for a loan to cover that shortfall but we will be very happy to receive any other donations that people might like to donate to us.”

The Clifton Village Hall and Schoolhouse Trust was originally granted permission for the project in September 2020, however it was delayed due to the Covid pandemic and the cost of living crisis.

Trustees say because the building is classed as an urban village hall and not a community centre, they are not eligible for certain grants to help pay for its upkeep and improvements.

Joe Rice, the treasurer, said expanding the popular community space will help secure its future by making it more attractive.

“We’ve got to take a bank loan out to cover any shortfall on the building, and that is based on the business case due to the hire of the hall really,” he said.

“It makes it more attractive to people, plus wedding receptions, if we have a very smart atrium entrance and very much revamped hall.”

The new atrium will have large glazed doors with glazed side panels to help flood the entrance courtyard with light on dark evenings.

The multi-purpose room will feature a folding partition wall, while the kitchen will be expanded to provide space for two ovens and hobs, a dishwasher, a double sink and two large fridge-freezers, helping open up more opportunities for larger catering events.

“It will make the hall so much more flexible,” Ms Ashton said.

“A huge number of different groups use it.

“We have got things like Rainbows, Brownies and Guides, karate, we have recently started a baby class, pilates, adult dancing, a couple of church groups use it, and particularly at the weekends it is very busy and used for children’s parties and anniversaries.”

Cllr Andrew Rule (Ind), who represents the Clifton West ward, said the facility had become “oversubscribed” and was in need of expansion.

He added: “I really welcome it and it will enhance what is already a tremendously-used facility.”

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