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Lenham Kent . Lenham.net Established 2000
Gateway to the East

Lenham Community Centre

Click Here for the Lenham Community Centre Website

Image shows Community Centre at centre, and Len Valley Practice at lower centre (Cross shaped building),
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The new Community Centre’s day to day running is the responsibility of the Executive Committee, which is responsible for bookings, financial management, collecting booking monies, making sure the hall is clean, and all the rules are addressed. We have a good working team of seven member trustees.

The policies and the future direction of the Community Centre is the responsibility of the Main Committee this is made up of member trustees drawn from all the organisations within the Parish of Lenham. This committee is responsible for future Policy and Projects within the hall, they make sure the policies and rules are conducted for the benefit of all users of the Centre, and advise the Executive Committee on the way the hall should be managed.

Each organisation has the right to nominate one of their members to serve on this committee as a trustee and sadly only a few take up this offer. So if your organisation is not represented, ask your committees to nominate a trustee. If your organisation does not use the hall currently, we are sure your members will, at some time in the future, hire it for family parties and get to-gethers.
The Main Committee meets four times a year, and should represent all the residents, organisations, and societies within the Parish of Lenham. If you or any member of your family have perhaps two hours to spare four times a year and wish to help make this Community Centre the best venue in Kent, put your name forward to your organisation to become their representative Trustee of Lenham Community Centre.

We will welcome anyone who wants to join us and in particular we would like to see some younger people from the village become involved in the future running of the hall.

Opening on February 12th 2004.

After 5 years the new Lenham Community Centre is now complete and the Parish Council took over the building on the 26th January 2004. In the next 2 weeks all the safety certificates must be signed. The Insurance and the entertainment Licence to operate the building must be in place. Then on the 12th February the Parish Council Chairman Cll Andrew Barr will hand the new building over to Roy Gill who as chairman of the management trustees will run and operate the building on behalf of all the residents of the Lenham Parish.

After accepting this responsibility to manage Community Centre the trustees invite you to come along and have your first look at the building from 4.30pm to 8.30pm.
The Lenham Community Centre Project over this time has been progressed through several different committees and just prior to the opening it is appropriate to thank them for their vision, courage, perseverance and full support, also for attending endless meetings, around 300 so far.

The Project Group. Responsible for overseeing the entire project, It was a privilege to Chair this committee of Roy Gill (Vice-Chairman), Secretary Julia Allen, & members Harry Appleton, Nigel Watson, Ian George, Margaret Mitchell, and assisted by Andrew Barr & Costas Loucius.

There task was to work with the architect Richard Birge to design the building, obtain estimates, to engage the contractors, liase with the project managers and contractors to deliver the building on time and within budget. In addition to keeping existing users up to date with developments.

The Parish Hall Executive Committee. Chaired by Roy Gill, Vice-Chairman Harry Appleton, Treasurer Ian George, Secretary Margaret Mitchell, booking secretary’s Lisa Hope and Gemma Buckle & members Tony Robinson, Sheila Mills, Co-opted Nigel Watson and Nick Osborne. Their responsibility was to consider the facilities required in the new building to agree any changes to the design during construction and to plan the move from the old hall to the new Community Centre.

The Finance Sub-Committee. Chaired by Nick Osborne, members Roy Gill, Ian George, Nigel Watson and Andrew Barr. Invited member Harry Appleton.
This committee met monthly to consider costs, agree payment of invoices and to make sure all work was within budget and to agree to any changes that were required.
The full audited accounts will be published in a future addition of focus, they will also be available at the new centre in the spring for inspection.

The Fundraising Committee. Chaired by Harry Appleton, Secretary Sue Summers, treasurer Ian George, publicity Pat Absom, & members Simon Bate, David Absom, John Nye, Richard Greenwood, Barbara Kyprianou & Barbara Dominy.

There target was to raise £50,000 by the time we opened and it has been a magnificent effort as this will be achieved by February 12th. Harry Appletons hard work ensured that all the functions that were arranged to raise this money were a success. The committee would like to thank all those people that supported the many fundraising activities for the Community Centre.

The Parish Council. Under the Chairmanship of both Cllr Andrew Barr & Cllr Derek Haselup the council had to make several courageous decisions these were supported by all Parish Councillors. This support, help and advice has been the driving force for the new Community Centre from a first idea to the completion of the magnificence building we have today.

The Parish Council were required to agree any expenditure on the project all legal decisions went through the Council for there approval, and the most important they were required to sign the contract to build and to underwrite any shortfall in expenditure.

The Construction Committee. Chaired by Andrew Belsey (our Project Managers) members David Mann, (site manager Epps Construction) Frank Avery, Patrick Bourne, (Epps Construction) Tony Bishop (Churchill Hui), Nick Osborne, and Nigel Watson,
This committee met monthly on site to ensure the construction was as the contract and complied to all the planning consents. Weekly meetings also took place to take decisions which ensured that we got the building we all wanted and within our budgets

Many other people from all over Kent as well as Lenham have given their time and effort to help us achieve the construction of the Community Centre. We would like to acknowledge the following for their help and support, Mr Michael Thorneloe who acted as our solictiors, Tom Roberts our funding consultant, Malcolm Rowe and Kate Greenwood from SEEDA, Elwyn Phillips and Dorothy Buckrell from The Community Fund, Derek Williamson, Brian Lattimer, David Petford and officers of Maidstone Borough Council. All Borough Councillors who without there support this project would not have been possible. We would also thank Brian File for his help at the beginning of the project, Mr Geoff Mules from Churchill Hui who worked without a contract for almost 4 years his help and advice has been invaluable.
No acknowledgement would be complete without a mention of the main contractor Epps Construction. Epps was chosen because we thought we could work with them and enjoy the experience of building a Community Centre we could all be proud of. We could not have chosen better, its been a great hobby!! for us over the last 2 years. Epps have made it an experience we will all look back on as something we would not have missed

All members of the committees are delighted that the first official function in the new Community Centre will be the Women’s Institute monthly meeting in the evening of opening day. We wish them every success in there new home.

On Saturday 14th February a Valentines Dance and Opening Party will be held using both halls. The tickets for this event are now on sale at the usual outlets Price £10.00.
On the 21st February we hope that all the Clubs, and Societies will come and promote their organisations in the main hall and members of the public will come along to see what the village has to offer within the new Community Centre.

The Lenham Community Centre is now yours, all of us that have been involved in its construction hope that it enables everyone in the parish to become involved in the functions, organisations and societies that take place in the centre, and thereby become a larger more integrated community. Also it will be a great place for Wedding Receptions, Parties, and other Social Activities and we are sure it will serve the village well for the next 140 years.

Thank you for your support.

Nick Osborne.
Chairman of the Project Committee.

Farewell The Old Village Hall

Sad to see the old Parish Hall close with all its happy memories but we can now boast of a new state-of-the-art Community Centre worthy of the thriving village of Lenham, which will formally open at 3.00 pm on the 12th February 2004, with public viewing from 4.30pm to 8.30pm. The Mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Morel d’Souza, accompanied by Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, will perform the official ceremony but invitations have been extended to the many who, over the past five years, have given guidance, positive support and encouragement.

There will be an Open Day on Saturday 21st February for all the clubs and societies to display there wares and encourage new recruits and greater community involvement. So, if you are a club or society organiser who wishes to advertise what you are about and what you do, why not contact the Centre Committee Secretary, Margaret Mitchell on 01622 858581.

Everyone is welcome to come along and see just how active our community is and what an impressive new facility we have here. Who knows, there may be an activity you have always wanted to be involved with or, indeed, something entirely new. The range of interests is vast. There is fun, learning, creativity and, most important of all, friendship to be enjoyed in our community.

First Village Public Event
“Valentine Dance and Cabaret”
14th February 2004
Enquiries: 01622 858011

WI Quiz Night 21st February 2004
Enquiries 01622 858522

For all Centre enquiries and bookings:
01622 851573 9.00 am – 9.00 pm Weekdays
9.00 am – 6.00 pm Weekends


Lenham Community Centre Opening on
Thursday 12th February 2004.

Before we open, the outside works must be completed, including the car park and before February we have to raise another £41,500 as this work was not included in the contract. We have appealed to local businesses for their support and would like to thank those businesses that have already given us donations towards this part of the project.

If local people wish to give us a donation towards new chairs and tables please contact Harry Appleton on 01622 858011.

The Community Centre will be available for bookings from the 15th February 2004, so if you require any information on what is available please contact Roy Gill on 01622 859145.

The last public event in the Old Parish Hall will be on the 22nd November 2003 when a ‘Farewell Evening of Entertainment’ is planned. This will be a special evening for us all to bid farewell to a Parish hall that has served us well for over 140 years. Many people will have memories of events and parties and we can celebrate, with a tinge of sadness, the closure of a much-loved building that has been part of all our lives.

Tickets for this event are on sale from the usual outlets and we urge you to book your tickets early.

The old hall will finally close its doors after the Market on the 14th December 2003 and then the move to the new Community Centre will begin.

Work will commence in the new year to convert the old hall into two houses. This should be completed in the Autumn of next year and we hope it serves the occupiers as well as it has served the village community.

Thursday 12th February 2004, the opening date, will see the culmination of five years of hard work. The Mayor of Maidstone Cllr Morel D’Souza and the Leader of Kent County Council, Sir Sandy Bruce Lockhart will perform the opening ceremony. The Parish Hall Committee have invited Cllr D’Souza and Sir Sandy Bruce Lockhart in acknowledgement of the full support we have received from Maidstone Borough Council and the Kent County Council. Without their full support this project could have failed.
We are also very grateful to all the people and organisations who have supported us. They will be invited to the opening ceremony and able to see what has been achieved as a result of their support and generosity.

The Opening Ceremony will take place at 3.00 pm and the halls will then be open to the public from 4.30 pm to 8.30 pm for the residents of Lenham to get their first view of the new Centre.

The Parish Hall Committee plans to have an Open Day shortly after the Community Centre opens, when organisations that intend to use the hall will be invited to participate

An opening party is being planned for Saturday 14th February 2004 and tickets will be on sale shortly. This will be a Valentines Dance and Party Night with cabaret.

In conclusion, on behalf of the Parish Council I would like to thank all who have supported us during the fund-raising period and know the new Community Centre will fulfill the role for which it was designed, to the benefit of all residents of Lenham.

Parish Cllr Nick Osborne

November 2003 Community Centre Project Report.

The Construction of the building of the new Community Centre is now reaching its final stages. The Electrical & Mechanical installation is now 80% complete The Flooring in the Kitchen Toilets and Changing Rooms is also complete The Stairwells have been completed and the 2 upper rooms are 85% complete to the specification we gave the contractor. (No decoration is included for these areas). The Car Parks and outside works are progressing well and should be complete by the end of this year. (No planting is included) Cll Osborne or CII Watson visit the site at least 3 times a week to monitor progress. Minor construction problems have been addressed. i.e. Drainage & Heating etc.

The entrance Foyer needed to be redesigned and this was discussed with all parties and we gave the contractor the go ahead to make this alteration at a cost of £957. Cost reductions and savings have been achieved this has resulted in a saving of £15,000 on the contract price, as a result of this we were able to put the Stairwells, Painting, and Emergency Lighting in the upper floors back into the contract. As a result of this we are able to make use of these facilities when the centre opens

With ten weeks to go before the completion we estimate that we will complete the contract under budget by around £5,000. We are still looking at all our costs and further savings are anticipated Churchill Hui are working on our behalf to achieve this We have instructed the contractor to complete the outside works as to our original specification this is at a cost of a further £41,331 this is outside the original contract. A breakdown of all costs and expenditure is available if requested.

The only item still to be resolved is the construction of the fencing around the Community Centre the estimated cost of this is £6,000 discussions are taking place and a decision will have to made by the end of the year. Security Cameras will now not be included and this will be treated as a separate project once the centre is open.

The Opening Date is now confirmed as Thurs 12th February 2004 and the Mayor of Maidstone Cll. Morel DeSouza & CIL Sir Sandy Bruce Lockhart have both been invited to open our new Community Centre, they have both accepted the invitation. The opening ceremony will take place at 3.OOpm and all Clls are invited to attend. The Centre will remain open for the rest of the afternoon and early evening so people from Lenham can have their first look at the new Halls. The first event will be a Valentines Dance & Village Party on the 14`x' February Cll Appleton will be giving full details later

The closure of the old hall will be the 14th December 2003 when no further use will be available, the sale should be completed on the 30th December 2003. There is some delay in the planning process as we now have to apply for permission for works to be carried out within the conversation area, we are having discussions with the planning dept to resolve this problem quickly.

The sale of the land for the Medical Centre has now been completed and the £190,000 we owed High Weald Housing has been paid, This is the Parish Councils payment for the infrastructure costs of the site. We will have a further payment to make to High Weald on completion of the project. Work should start on the Construction of the new Medical Centre within the next 2 to 3 weeks, with completion in the autumn of next year.

The environment committee is now considering the landscaping for the site and will be recommending what action is required.

(from July 2003)

The construction of the new Community Centre has now reached the half way stage and everyone connected with the project is pleased with its progress.

All the steelwork is completed and the brickwork is up to first floor level, at the time of writing the roof has began to take shape and should be complete by the end of July.
We are now planning the internal finishes and colour schemes for the building,
Discussions have now started as to the equipment such as tables and chairs that will be required for the new building.

It has been confirmed that due to a planning condition we will have to complete the outside works including all car parks before we can use the hall. To comply with this planning condition we must raise a further £41,500.00, therefore we are working hard to fund this work.

We will be approaching local businesses for a contribution towards these costs. In return any major contributor will be able to place a plaque in the foyer acknowledging their company or business.

The Parish Hall Committee are now planning the changeover from the old Parish Hall It is anticipated that we will vacate the existing hall towards the end of this year.
We will take ownership of the new Community Centre on the 18th January 2004.
The Booking Clerk is now taking bookings for next year for all the new accommodation within the centre.

Perhaps the time is right to remind everyone in the village that this Community Project is the largest project that any village of our size in the South of England has ever undertaken. At its completion we will have 10 Local Needs Houses, a Community Centre, a new Medical Centre, all constructed complete with roads, footpaths, car parks, street lighting and landscaped areas. Lenham should be proud that this has been achieved by the support from all sectors of the community.

As a village we must still raise another £100,000 to complete the complex so your support is just as vital as it was 3 years ago. So please continue to support the coming fundraising events, and we thank you all for the efforts of everyone who has been involved in fundraising, from buying a brick or trying to win a Winnie the Pooh, right up to the organising of events on our behalf.

Thank You.

Nick Osborne Project Leader

October 2002 We reported a few weeks ago that the construction stage for the new Community Centre would begin in early September, unfortunately this has not been possible as we under estimated the amount of internal design work and construction planning that was required.

Another reason was that construction traffic was unable to use the new entrance in Old Ashford Road, therefore we had to make a planning application for a temporary entrance directly onto our site from the A20. Approval has been granted for 1 year from 2nd September.

Following the public meeting Roy Gill has been hard at work tying up all the legal loose ends with the Charities Commission which will allow the village to sell our existing hall and transfer the Village Hall Charitable Trust to the new building.

This work was a vital part of the jigsaw, as for obvious reasons we need the new Community Centre to enjoy the same charitable status as the old hall. Within the next few weeks we will begin to market the existing building, it is only then we will know the true value of the hall.
Over the past few weeks we have been putting together what we believe is the best team to construct the new Community Centre. This overall project will be the responsibility of Geoff Mules from Church Hui; Andrew Belsey will ably assist him. Richard Birge heads the architect’s team from MTS. Richard Epps, assisted by Trevor Leigh will lead the construction team. Frank Avery will be responsible for the program and the site manager is Dave Mann. Mike Walker will be responsible for the mechanical and electrical design.

During the construction stage this group will meet at regular intervals, and the village will be represented by Nigel Watson who will attend on behalf of the Parish Council. Nick Osborne as project leader will represent the Village Hall Committee and Andrew Barr as Chairman of the Parish Council will attend if either of these other two are not available or if he considers it necessary that as Chairman of the Parish Council he should be in attendance.

On the financial side Brian Latimer from Maidstone Borough Council will be acting as our accountable body and will be responsible for releasing the funds, as they are required. Our accountant will be Ron Harrop who will control our bank account.

The building program remains much the same, the work should commence in early October and we will be working towards a completion date of late August next year.
This gives us time to apply for grants of around £150,000. which will allow us to complete the project. Also we still need to raise £20,000 by local fundraising by the end of next year so please continue to give us your support.

During the year up to-date information will be available at our stall at the market in the square on the 2nd Sunday of every month, Monthly reports will be given to the Parish Council Meetings and the Parish Hall Management Meetings, both of which are open to the public.
Nick Osborne Project Leader.

April 2002 -Community project awarded funding
The new Community Centre Project Group applied for funding from the South East England Development Agency for funding for the Community Project.

We were delighted when they announced that under their Market Town Programme the Village has been awarded £160,000.

Meetings are now taking place with SEEDA so that we know what the criteria are to allow us to take up this offer.

During the coming week [14th March onwards] we will be discussing with organisations in the Village how we are able to use this money to the best advantage for the Community Centre Project

With the lottery application due to be announced in May we are confident that the target of £830,000 can be reached and building can commence in the autumn of this year.
As part of this latest award the Village will undertake a ‘Village Health Check’, which will ensure that all sections of our community can benefit from the facilities that will be available for the New Parish Hall.

Within the last few days’ work has commenced on site with the roads, drainage and other infrastructure works. The Local Needs Housing Development being the first element to be built will follow this. The new Medical Centre and Community Hall should follow within the next few months. This year is going to be very exciting.
Nick Osborne

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