Renovation of Backwell Parish Hall

2014 Campaign

In 2013 the trustees developed an ambitious plan to modernise Backwell Parish hall which has served the community well since it was established by public subscription in 1910. The first major tasks identified were to insulate a totally uninsulated structure and to update the ancient mercury lighting which required a great deal of power to run. Both these measures were aimed at achieving modern environmental standards and thus drastically reducing the operating costs in the face of ever increasing energy prices.

The plan also including other smaller improvements such as renovating the hall floor, fitting a better emergency exit with an associated increase in storage space, upgrading the wall panelling and redecorating.

Accordingly a public appeal for funds was launched in November 2013 and thanks to a generous response from residents and similarly generous grants from the Landfill Company Biffa (supported by seed money from Backwell Drama Club), from the Parish Council and from Bristol International Airport the programme of work outlined above was funded and completed in 2014.

The major insulation and lighting projects were scheduled to take place in the school summer holidays to minimise disruption to Hall users and thanks to efficient project management and the collaborative approach of our contractors all was complete by the start of the Autumn term. Paul O’Brien Ltd undertook the insulation work and Trimby Electrical Ltd the lighting renovation.

The photographs, taken by David Bax of Backwell Camera Club, illustrate some of the extensive works undertaken. The insulation project for example required the internal scaffolding of all of the hall and the creation of a temporary floor close to the ceiling. This also facilitated the high level work on the lighting.

2015 Campaign

A similarly ambitious plan was developed for 2015 but all depended as usual on raising the necessary funds. The plan included resurfacing the worn out flat roof over the kitchen, creation of a second committee room, accessing some of the loft space for lightweight storage, renovating or replacing all of the internal doors in the main hall and most importantly, upgrading the toilets.

Thanks to a grant from the Parish Council and some surpluses generated from use of the hall, partly as a result of reduced running costs, much of this work was undertaken in the school summer holidays and the weeks following. To date the flat roof over the kitchen has been renewed and the ladies toilet upgraded. Work is proceeding on the disabled toilet. In addition the electronic system within the main hall has been given its own dedicated cupboard. Work continues on loft access and on completing the lighting, carpeting and decoration of a second committee room. Renovation of the internal doors with installation of a stable door to improve the security for the Toddlers group and others will follow. New guttering will also be installed on the pitched roof above the kitchen flat roof and fascia boards fitted to improve the appearance of the hall.

Careful budgeting means that it may also be possible to upgrade the Gents toilet once the other work is complete.