Priti visits Tolleshunt D’arcy Village Hall to support major fundraising campaign to replace it
lWitham MP Priti Patel has today (03.07.20) visited the Tolleshunt D’arcy Village Hall, to see for herself how badly it needs to be replaced by a new purpose built village hall. The visit was hosted by former Essex Deputy Chief Constable, Charles Clark, Fiona Marshall former Chief Executive of Maldon District Council and Robert Morgan, who are all local residents and part of the Tolleshunt D’arcy Village Hall Working Group (TDVHW Group). The Group is spearheading the campaign to raise the money needed to finance the existing hall’s demolition and the construction of a much needed new facility.
Priti was shown how the building, which is over 100 years old, has deteriorated and, in particular, the poor state of the flooring, and other areas where rot has taken hold. Repairs to parts of the floor have proven successful but due to the number of rotten joists that have been removed and those likely to remain under large areas of the remaining flooring, and the need for a modern echo-friendly building, a better long-term solution is now needed. Some £870,000 is required to demolish and replace the existing building.
The TDVHW Group, which consists of 14 local people, is hoping to raise a substantial grant from the National Lottery fund for ‘Reaching Communities & Partnerships,’ with the balance coming from other funding sources and local donors. An initial application to The Lottery has been ‘turned down for now’ because the current funding priority is for smaller grants. However, the application has been described by The Lottery as strong, in alignment with their funding priorities, substantial evidence of community consultation and strong local support. The Lottery has suggested further contact later in the year.
After her visit, Priti said: “From what I have seen today, it is quite clear that the building is in a poor state and badly needs to be replaced. Every village needs a focal point and gathering place that it can be proud of but the present village hall falls well short of the standard required. The fundraising campaign has my full support and I will be doing my best to put the TDVHW Group in touch with the right people. I hope everyone will get behind this very worthy cause.”
Charles Clark said: “The TDVHW Group and the wider community recognise the significant challenge we face in seeking to raise the estimated £870,000 required for the project. We greatly appreciate Priti’s support for our fundraising campaign and her taking the time to visit today to see for herself why we need a new village hall. A hall capable of providing a focal point for community life as well as a wide range of services and activities for all ages and interests.”