SOS East Boldre

This initial sum will cover the design costs, planning permission and other preliminary surveys needed to rebuild our village hall and shop

We did it!

On 13th May 2018 we successfully raised £4,670 with 74 supporters in 56 days

SOS East Boldre

The Future of our Village Shop and Post Office is in Doubt

caab8cf55780ba7d14d0af72dd7e58b07acdcfe0We only have one small shop in our rural, New Forest village - and we could lose it. The current shop owner is trying to sell it as a viable business but the shop area is quite small and local property prices are high, so there has not been much interest.

The bus only runs every other day so a local shop and Post Office is an essential lifeline for the community, especially for the elderly who no longer drive.

Our Village Hall is Struggling to Survive

3f882a2b07b4da1515c08bbf4966b7b4d5f0aa0eLike many rural village halls, our main users, the aging population, are slowly disappearing. Income from hiring fees is falling and no longer covers our running costs. We have been supplementing our funds by organising fundraisers but a steady income stream would make life easier for everyone.

The hall was built a century ago as the Officers’ Mess for RAF Beaulieu,  a WW1 military flying school, which trained pilots for action on the Western  Front. It is the only military building in the New Forest, from that period, to survive.

During the 1960s, and again in the 1980s, flat-roof extensions were added to the hall, with little regard for the historic significance of the building or for efficient use of the space. For example, changing rooms for the local football club were added taking up an area of about 360 square feet but it is used for less than twenty hours each year and  generates little or no income for the hall.

Two Problems with One Solution

We want to redevelop our village hall to incorporate a community shop and Post Office with a cafe where local people can meet. The flat-roof extensions will be removed and the area they occupy will be reallocated to a new building. The ground floor of this building will be leased to the new community shop and cafe, generating a regular income for the hall. The upper floor will be used for functions and exhibitions, and the old Officer's Mess will be restored to its former glory. 


This is an ambitious project for the community and we need to get through the planning process before we can secure grant funding. We want to raise £5,700 to pay for the planning application, ecological surveys, environmental impact reports, consultants and all of the other hoops we must jump through before the first spade can hit the ground. If we can get through the planning process, we will be back to raise a further £600,000 pay for the project.

Meet the Team

6f039b1acb6acc0990b6a9e95755d1a8eee9fc02The SOS East Boldre project is being managed by the East Boldre Village Hall team. Our Chairman is Mike Husband, seen here holding a seat from a First World War SE5a biplane fighter aircraft, while giving a speech at a formal dinner to celebrate the 100 year birthday of No. 84 Squadron, RAF, the only surviving squadron that was formed at East Boldre during WW1.

32b14aaff8ec94f7ed6422322d3c646cb884d640Steve Antczak is Secretary and general dogsbody. That's me on the right, leading a guided walk around the WW1 airfield ruins.

0ab66675c2de55bf248ffc1dc1cf9c9d2f292652To raise funds for the hall, we wrote a book detailing the history of East Boldre Airfield. It has 256 A4 size pages with nearly 500 images, including many photographs taken at East Boldre during WW1.

From left to right, Gina Antczak, Village Hall Treasurer and Editor; Steve Antczak, Village Hall Secretary and co-author; Robin Street, Village Hall Trustee and co-author; Tony Johnson, Village Hall Trustee and co-author. More details about this well received book can be found on our website;

1ff4427c6c27877fc08dd685249408b66530bfaaHere we are with another member of the team, Village Hall Trustee Malcolm Ross (right), selling our books at Lymington Market.

fb4a8e2d8290d0dde261bfefd2ccb4e3176b85adAnd whenever we hold a major fundraising event, the ladies of the village turn out in force to bake cakes and man the kitchen.

Our Fundraising Activities

191a53da280202aea85abb07c880a9b7a458baedWe hold regular exhibitions of our historical archive to raise funds and, from time to time, we hold a spectacular historical event with dramatisations of life on the WW1 airfield and, twice, we have organised flying displays of replica WW1 aircraft. Currently, we are giving our exhibition a facelift which will cost us about £1,500. 

f85da75728b8bf58dc9133ccbae8c44154937436On top of that, on 29 December 2017, a mini-tornado tore through East Boldre causing a lot of damage to homes and businesses. Our village hall took quite a hit. We are fully insured but this freak of nature has given us the opportunity to make some changes and overdue upgrades, which will not be covered by our insurance, so we will have to dig into our hard-earned funds to pay for them.

As can see, our reserve funds are spoken for, which is why we must raise £5,700 to pay for the planning and consultation process for our new Community Hub.

Thank you for supporting SOS East Boldre.

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