The hamlet of Thwaites has 50 houses and a population of 150. 235 people access the village hall on a weekly basis from Thwaites and the surrounding areas.
The aim of this project was to make a more usable kitchen that is safer and more hygienic, thereby encouraging more people to use the facilities efficiently and grow the use of the Hall – food is a great draw!
More events like Bingo could be serving buffet style refreshments while Pie and Peas could become a regular event. The Hall would be able to better serve a population in a scattered rural area.
The improved facilities would provide new lines of revenue while retaining the current user base – the fortnightly soup and pudding events are highly popular.
There has been persistent demand for private bookings which the Committee would like to target for additional revenue. This however could only be delivered if the catering facilities meet the demands of users and the specialist catering providers who need the kitchen facilities to finalise their serving and reheating.
The bar/serving area will be more efficient with serving hatches which will support big events like the Gala and Bonfire Night… Both events are a high point in the social calendar for many.
The work was undertaken during February – April 2018 and the improvement has been transformational. The initial clearing out the kitchen of the old kitchen was undertaken by volunteers to reduce labour costs.
The Project will support the Local Parish Council (Millom Without) Emergency Plan arrangements, with the Village Hall assisting local residents in the event of an emergency. The enhanced Kitchen facilities will be a great asset in this role.
Chris Gibson, project lead, said “We are delighted at the transformation, the upgraded kitchen is truly fantastic and so much better than we have even anticipated. Feedback from the hall users is already positive and we are looking forward to the Gala on 9 June for the grand opening. Our next phase is looking to futureproof the facility and improving our sustainability by potentially including renewable energy that will reduce our utility costs and maybe provide an income. Support, both financially and with application guidance, from Copeland Community Fund has been invaluable and would recommend any organisation to apply”.
Other funding is being provided from: Sellafield Community Choices and own funds.