The Trustees of The Victoria Hall are delighted to announce they have received a much needed and much appreciated grant from the Section 106 Hawkesmead Trust Funding agreement with Rutland County Council. The funding, set up by land developers, Hawkesmead with the County Council is to contribute towards the infrastructure, upkeep and services to Oakham and Rutland. In particular, the funds are in place to assist with indoor sport, leisure and recreation in Oakham and the locality.
The Victoria Hall is the community hall for the town of Oakham, located in the town centre. A handsome grade II listed building, built in 1858, rich in history and character and the centre of recreational activity and social life for many.
There are offices on the ground floor and a gallery but most of the leisure and recreational classes are held in the function room on the second floor. Yoga classes are held three times a week and there is twice weekly ballroom dancing and weekly line dancing. Other cultural activities that take place upstairs including theatrical rehearsals and productions, club and group meetings for the arts society and U3a, quality and vintage markets and social gatherings for weddings, parties and family affairs. The age profile spans all ages and abilities and provision for disabled guests, wheelchairs and pushchairs is vital in order to offer the Function Room as a multi-purpose recreational facility for the local community.
The Trustees, all volunteers, have an obligation to ensure that all these activities can take place and an essential part of the infrastructure of the hall is the lift. The Trustees have experienced a long and difficult time during recent years with the costs for the lifts repair and maintenance, and it has become an ever increasing burden on the finances. It is old and no longer complies with current Health and Safety standards and the requirements of the DDA. More out of service than in, and replacement components no longer available, the fear was the lift would be condemned.
Voluntary Action Rutland highlighted some possible avenues for funding and the Trustees were encouraged by Rutland County Council to prepare and submit a bid to assist with the lift’s full refurbishment.
The grant for £25,000 was received from the RCC Sport, Leisure and Community Facilities Grant and Load Scheme and a further £1,500 gratefully received, came from The Oakham Memorial Institute in order to complete the total works.
Kone PLC were appointed to carry out the refurbishment and to provide ongoing maintenance and the lift has now been fully refurbished to meet current DDA and Health & Safety standards. The project team at the Victoria Hall were, Trustees Mike Pearson, John Sims and John Allman and Victoria Hall Manager, Ann Gurney.
Ann said ‘On behalf of the Victoria Hall we wish to thank all of the users for their continued patience during the time when the lift was out of operation. We are delighted to now have a reliable and fully refurbished lift to offer to all our customers.’
John Sims, Trustee, also commented ‘The lift was very old and so often out of action, both Mike Pearson and I were delighted to be part of the committee to prepare, plan and manage the project. The lift is so valuable at the Victoria Hall.’ Mike Pearson added, ‘and our appreciation and thanks go to Rutland County Council and Oakham Memorial Trust for this much needed assistance and their support.’