The Perranwell Centre Charity is raising money to revitalise and improve the Perranwell Centre, but we need your support!
The Perranwell Centre is a vital part of the local community, in the heart of Cornwall. With the support of all its local groups, we want to secure its future and increase the opportunities for local residents, and current and future generations.
The hall has served community groups within the Parish and surrounding districts for over 65 years.
What's the story so far?
On 2 June 1963 the original ‘Nissen Hut’ hall opened on land donated by Horace Visick, intended as a community space. On 31 December 1964, the name of ‘Perran ar Worthal Village Memorial Hall’ was established in deeds handing ownership to the trustees. This later became the Perranwell Centre.
Initial users included the local Women’s Institute, who still use the centre as base today. Regular fundraising and community events were held in the space, before it was replaced by the present day hall in 1971.
As time has gone on, the opportunities offered by the hall have grown, and the hall simply is not equipped to support its local groups to their full potential. The centre celebrates its rich and vibrant history, though is also keen to ensure the space is established as a leading community pillar for future generations.
So why a new space?
The present village hall was built in 1971 and has been a remarkably successful space. It was well designed and has been enormously well used, and we do congratulate our predecessor trustees on their achievement. But, at over 50 years old, the hall is of its time and is now showing its age. In recent years, the trustees have explored many ways of improving the existing structure, such as extra insulation, acoustic panels, better lighting, but none have been found to be feasible. Two crucial reports were commissioned. The first was an energy efficiency survey in 2014, which reported that not only did the building have the lowest possible energy efficiency rating, but even attempting to add substantial extra insulation would make very little difference to the hall’s overall energy performance; thermally speaking, it’s an inherently leaky building.
The second report was of a structural survey conducted in 2018 which concluded that, while the main structure was surprisingly sound and not actually rotting, the building had exceeded its expected life-span and would, in any case, be unable to bear the weight of any additional insulation or other improvements that would need to be hung on the structure.
Other problems have emerged over time. Acoustic insulation is extremely poor, with noise from one area disturbing activities in other areas. There is no effective way to reduce problems of noise pollution within the building. Acoustic curtains were tried in the west room, but produced only a modest improvement. The current heating system is inefficient and inadequate, and the lighting system is poor and inflexible. The sprung floor in the main hall is nearing the end of its useful life and is subject to frequent repairs. The stage is outmoded and inadequate for modern productions. The exterior of the building requires increasing maintenance as various materials age and expire. Even the drains are producing problems, with blockages, collapses and the recent discovery of an unwelcome reverse slope.
None of these problems is to denigrate the efforts of our predecessor trustees. When constructed in 1971, the new hall must have seemed like a palace. However, the trustees have had to face the problems fairly and squarely: should we invest considerable sums in refurbishment that we know would largely fail to resolve the problems and would represent poor value for money, or should we go for redevelopment to provide an energy-efficient and sustainable building for the next 50 years? We chose redevelopment.
What are we fundraising for?
Thus the Perranwell Centre Project was born - a plan to improve all aspects of the hall, ensuring it is equipped for the various hall users. This particular stage of fundraising is for the 2.5 architectural plans.
The Perranwell Centre trustees’ plans to redevelop the existing hall have so far been funded from reserves and resulted in the production of a RIBA Stage 2 Report – concept design. This is in development terms very much a ‘wish list’ and not a finalised design. It was subject to a broad level of consultation with stakeholders and residents and was widely supported. Progress was naturally stalled due to the inevitable disruption of Covid but now the trustees want to build on the Stage 2 design and have asked the architects to produce what we are calling a Stage 2.5 design. As the name suggests this is a ‘halfway house’ to a Stage 3 design which will be a proposal that can be costed and built. The 2.5 design will still be subjected to consultation and alteration, but the aim is that it will be a significant step to present what the final building might look like.
The Stage 2 ‘wish list’ was naturally cluttered with a fair amount of repetition (did we really need that number of toilets for instance). The 2.5 design will be a slimmed down proposal but still based on the concept of a ‘two hall’ community centre, namely an Arts Centre and a Sports Hall which will naturally increase the provision currently provided by the existing Hall. The link binding both these halls to the wider community will be the provision of a centre that can actively support care in the community with spaces that can be used both recreationally and professionally. Thus fully realising the aims of the charity, “to establish and run a village centre and to promote for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Parish of Perran-ar-worthal and surrounding districts (“area of benefit”) without distinction of sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, nationality, race or political, religious or other opinions the provision of facilities for recreation, education or other leisure time occupation of individuals who have need of such facilities by reason of their youth, age, infirmity or disablement, financial hardship or social and economic circumstances or for the public at large in the interests of social welfare and with the object of improving the conditions of life of the said inhabitants.” For more information about the development please visit our website here.
The purpose of this crowdfunder is to take another step on the road to providing a centre that will be an asset to all in the community. It will not only provide the money to fund the new design but it will also be the means by which the trustees can directly talk to and listen to individuals and groups in the local community. Let’s take these steps together.
Who will you be supporting?
A huge variety of local community groups rely on the hall and will benefit from these improvements. We are the home for badminton, health and fitness, dance, martial arts, am-dram productions, community events, concerts, specialist group meetings, kids’ club, card games, committee meetings, election polling station, social value group and private parties (and much more!). You can see that the centre is a huge community hub.
These include but are not limited to:
- Local theatre groups who use the space for rehearsal and performance - the performances also provide entertainment for residents. A separate theatre space will welcome travelling theatre groups and allow other activities to continue at the centre during a performance week.
- Social spaces for elderly residents - the centre provides a location for the elderly to connect and combat loneliness. The new plans also offer social care and a specific community space for these people. The plans for the redevelopment include the ‘Ruth Collins’ space, which will offer medical support and drop ins. The elderly community was massively impacted by the COVID pandemic and it is vital that they have a community space.
- Sporting facilities - many sporting groups for the old and young use the centre. A separate sporting hall means that these offerings can be extended.
- The Football Club uses the centre as a clubhouse, and hosts home matches on the field outside.
- The school relies greatly on the centre for all aspects of the growth of its students.
- Social activities for marginalised groups, such as the memory cafe, are hugely important to local residents.
On behalf of The Perranwell Centre Community - thank you for your support!