Transforming Worminghall Village Hall into an accessible and eco-friendly hub

Worminghall Village Hall, a historic Victorian building which has served as the community hub for over a century, needed to undertake a transformative journey to improve accessibility and adopt eco-friendly renovations.

The challenge 

Worminghall Village Hall, leased to the community by the Diocese of Oxford since the 1950s, had been in need of substantial upgrades for decades. The last major renovation took place in the 1970s when outdoor toilets were brought inside.  

The community voiced its concerns during a community consultation in July 2021, highlighting several crucial improvements including: 

  • Easy access to the garden from the hall 
  • Kitchen restyling or refurbishment 
  • Creation of accessible toilets for individuals with disabilities 
  • Upgrading the women’s toilet block. 

The existing facilities did not meet modern standards – for example the toilet block was inaccessible to individuals with disabilities and lacked proper insulation – and were unwelcoming and unsuitable for future use. The hall also lacked a food production licence which limited its revenue-generating potential. 

The solution 

Responding to the community’s needs and concerns, the trustees and management committee of Worminghall Village Hall embarked on a review of potential improvements. After exploring various options, they devised a renovation plan that not only enhanced accessibility and inclusivity but also prioritised environmental sustainability. 

To promote eco-friendliness, the renovation plan incorporated the following measures in their new build extension: 

  • Restructuring external walls to minimise heating energy loss 
  • Replacing single-glazed windows with energy-efficient double-glazed windows to improve insulation 
  • Adding insulation to the roof for enhanced energy efficiency 
  • Installing modern low-usage water flush cisterns to reduce water consumption. 

An estimate of £100,000 was agreed for the renovation work and the committee started to explore fundraising channels available to them. 

To secure funding for this ambitious project, Worminghall Village Hall reached out to Community Impact Bucks for support under the Community Buildings Subscription Service.  

Following a funding support session, Frankie, who heads up Community Impact Bucks’ Community Buildings Service, sent guides on how to write a fundraising application, a guide to funding for village halls, and a comprehensive Bucks Funding Search funding report that provided details of suitable funding opportunities for the committee to explore. From this, the committee successfully secured funding from six sources including the Platinum Jubilee Village Hall Fund and their local Community Board.  

Community Impact Bucks also supported the village hall with their application to the Platinum Jubilee Fund, offering a FAQ session and review of their application prior to submission as part of their role as member of Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE). 

The result 

With their determination and the support of expert guidance from Community Impact Bucks, Worminghall Village Hall successfully raised all necessary funds for the renovation project – raising an amazing £85,000 from six different funding sources, which added to the Committee’s own fundraising efforts of £15,000 from initiatives such as the Velo Café provided the £100,000 funds for the project. 

Through these efforts, the hall will not only be made accessible and inclusive but also transformed into an eco-friendly hub that will serve the village for generations to come. This success story serves as an inspiration for other community halls looking to make a positive impact on their surroundings while going green. 

“The project may well have become stuck to the drawing board if it wasn’t for the guidance on funding sources that Frankie and her team from Community Impact Bucks provided to the Trustees in the very beginning.  In particular, great support and expert assistance was provided in putting together the Stage 1 and Stage 2 application documents for the DEFRA/ACRE Platinum Jubilee Village Hall Fund where a successful award of £18,000 was received.”  

Bob Merry, Trustee – Worminghall Village Hall

Further information 

Updated on March 13, 2024

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society