Parish Hall Kitchen

Our Parish Hall and it’s new kitchen:

Most of you would agree that the kitchen in the parish hall has not been ‘fit for purpose’ for many years.  The Parish Hall Management Group (PHMG), working with the PCC, has been aware that it needed major work and the journey began about three years ago.

Intrepid explorers (members of the PHMG) visited other local facilities and admired their provision and the services they could then offer their communities.  And so the dream began……..

The PHMG worked with a local provider looking at how we could adapt and refurbish the present kitchen area – it has some very peculiar shaped walls.  A plan and costs were submitted to us which included what we really wanted – however, at a cost of £37,000 this was quickly revised to where it came within the scope of being able to source grant funding.  The new plan allows the kitchen to work in line with our ‘dreams’ but will allow for further work to be carried out to further improve this in future years if required.  The new plans came in at a cost of around £17,000.

A planned programme of applying for grant funding, which in our current climate is the only way we could move this project forward, began some twelve months ago.  We were delighted in September 2016 to be awarded a National Lottery Awards for All Grant for £10,000 and the remaining funding came from The Galbraith Trust and The Harold and Alice Bridges Charitable Trust.  We could at last start, in November 2016, to plan our way forward.

The bookings diary was looked at, a school holiday date of February 2017 decided upon and the meetings began with the kitchen supplier to plan the installationKitchen before.  Whilst we knew there would be a queue of volunteers to dismantle and remove the old kitchen the PHMG decided to complete the work whilst trying to minimise any further damage to the room.  Sympathetic (aka free) professionals worked with us to remove plumbing etc.  The small team began their work at the beginning of February and this was co-ordinated by Bill Harrison.  The picture shows just how much better the room looked by being empty!

The first problem we encountered at the beginning of the delivery stage was electric, literally!  The power supply to the kitchen was not adequate to accommodate the new equipment and was so old it was not suitable to allow us to move wiring.  A new supply had to be run from the hall cellar into the kitchen and a new circuit board installed – the cost for this additional work – £2856.  The PCC agreed to pay this cost in light of the fact that the hall has made a significant profit over the last twelve months and it would be reinvesting some of this into the upkeep and improvement of the hall and its facilities.

Friday 3rd February – Bill and his helpers moved in to start work taking out old units, remove tiles and disconnect services.  This work continued throughout the week and the following week with Bill being able to get a couple of coats of paint onto the walls before the installation work.

Tuesday 7th February – a 2 foot by 2 foot hole is drilled through the wall for the new extraction unit.  The builder thought it would be an easy job – a couple of hours later and the ‘snowman’ decided that the wall was an awful lot thicker and more substantial than he thought!  The job was completed without too much disruption to hall users.

Wednesday 8th February – the extraction/fan unit is fitted above the new, at this moment virtual, cooker.

Monday 13th February – the electricians arrive at 8.30am and begin the work of running a new supply into the kitchen.  The wiring is run and the two ends need connecting up on their return on Thursday. The electrician managed to find a loft space long since forgotten so there wasn’t a need to run extra trunking through the main hall itself.

Tuesday 14th February – the flooring specialist arrives.  The old sticky, but slippy, floor is removed.  The new anti-slip flooring is cut and placed on the stage.  A ‘screed’ is put onto the floor and left to dry.

Wednesday 15th February – the flooring man returns to lay the new flooring. A long day but the new flooring looks great – he was determined to finish the job before he left!

Thursday 16th February – 8.30am and it’s like the cavalry have landed.  There are three electricians, a gas fitter/plumber and three men from the catering firm with equipment. At one stage during the afternoon Bill and I were searching out all the stop taps, the water supply was turned off for 30 minutes.  Later on the power was switched off to allow connection of the new supply board into the mains.  The picture shows where we were up to at the end of the very long day (6.30pm) – it’s beginning to look a little bit like a kitchen again.

Friday 17th February – 8.30am and three workman arrive – two are only there for 30 minutes to connect up the gas interlock (a device that ensures that the fan has to be working in order for a gas supply to run to the cooker).  Today’s work includes putting two Kitchen duringmore holes through the walls – the current drainage is too high as it was designed for domestic use not the deeper catering sinks.  The builder really wanted to be able to get the water to run uphill but he had to resort to drilling instead!  Plumbing for the sinks and wash hand basin is completed and all pipework is completed.  The cooker is installed and tested.  All old lead pipes (oh yes there were some of those in the kitchen) have been replaced with modern piping.  The photograph shows progress after the day has ended.

Due to the extra holes having to be drilled the installation is going to continue on Monday 20th February but we are still hoping to get the kitchen up and running for Friday 24th February as promised.  After Monday there will be another coat of paint to carry out and a lot of cleaning up before moving plates etc back into the room.  Then we will be producing simple guides which will be laminated and displayed on the walls to give instructions on how to use the equipment safely.

Week beginning Monday 20th February:  The kitchen fitters returned and completed the installation and the intrepid volunteers moved into action – coats of paint, cleaning and moving things back into the kitchen.  As you can see from the photograph, the kitchen is now completed and we have received some very positive feedback from users.

Finished kitchen

We always realised that we would need a lot of catering equipment.  Rev Michael put this into context in one sentence “there is no point in having a new kitchen if we can’t even boil an egg!”  Funding was again looked into and we were fortunate to receive an additional grant from the Harold and Alice Bridges Charity which means we now have on order a considerable amount of equipment including pots, pans, serving dishes etc which we should receive in the next couple of weeks.

This has been a ‘team’ effort and the PHMG and PCC hope that you will approve of the finished room.  Hopefully our new facilities will help us to offer more social events in the future and there are some interesting fundraising events already planned in the calendar.  In addition to this we are hoping that our new facilities will see an increase in the use of the hall by outside hirers who will increase the use of our building within the community.

There is other work planned over the coming months and we will keep you posted in the magazine.

Jayne Weatherill

Chair of Parish Hall Management Group

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