Whitsome has had a Village Hall for over 50 years.
The Hall was used by lots of local groups for many years and it provided a hub for village activity.
Unfortunately, the heating had to be removed after an ice storm a few years ago and the condition of the hall deteriorated so much that some of the local groups stopped using it.
The committee members had to take action. So a feasibility study was done to identify the best way to proceed. The study looked at all the options such as renovating the hall, building a new hall, all the potential sites for a new building, the views of residents and what activities were needed in the village.
The cost of renovating the hall was almost as much as a new hall and the study recommend a new building on a new site within the village.
As the above study was taking place, it came to the attention of the committee that the portakabin which houses Whitsome Village Shop was also deteriorating from age. This meant that the shop may close in a year or two.
After discussions it was agreed that the planned new building would incorporate not just a Village Hall and Meeting Room but also a Community Shop, Post Office and cafe area.
We needed a building to keep our village afloat.
This was an ambitious project for a small committee to take on but there was lots of support from parish residents and other village groups.
The committee was optimistic that Whitsome could have a Hall and Community Building to be proud off - fit for lots of new activities and services which are needed by local residents.
The initial plans and costs horrified committee members and local residents alike and the committee realised it would have to modify the design so that there was a realistic possibility that the required sum could be raised.
The committee aimed to get the cost of the build to a maximum of £400,000 but it still needed to be able to offer all the activities wanted. This was managed with a bit of imagination and not too much compromise and a major fundraising programme was started.
It took over 3 years of completing funding applications and local fundraising events to reach the target and building could begin. (Details of the funding can be seen on the Funding page of the site.)
A brief diary of the building process can be found on the Building the Ark page.
The old Village Hall just outside Whitsome village served the community well for over 50 years but was suffering from a long life of use and the onslaught of the elements.
We used this cheerful logo to keep our spirits up during the long process of bringing Whitsome Ark to a reality from a germ of an idea.
Whitsome village has recently had a new wifi system installed so that we now have broadband speeds up to 6MB per second compared with the 0.5 MB per second previously available.
Thanks to the local residents who succeeded in attracting special LEADER funding to enable it to happen.
Whitsome Ark can now offer access to this Wifi to hall users which is an added attraction to an already attractive building.