In February 2021 the £1 million Green Shoots Community Climate Change Fund was launched by Warwickshire County Council to help local community groups act on climate change. There was no minimum application level, but the maximum available was set at £25,000.
The replacement of Wixford Village Hall project was one of a number of projects to be given close to maximum available funding of £25k (receiving £24,066).
The Green Shoots funding will enable the Wixford Village Hall project to replace the currently dilapidated and damp village hall with a building that is energy efficient and fit for the 21st century, where it will once again be a vibrant hub for the local community.
Green Shoots Funding is being used to pay for: low carbon air-source heat pumps as the primary heating and cooling for the building; a mechanical ventilation system that will include heat recovery to further improve energy efficiency; high grade insulation; and air tightness measures to minimise heat losses and infiltration.
Green Shoots funding is only one part of the story for the replacement of Wixford village hall, which is a remarkable example of efficient construction through material re-use. The existing village hall structure is to be removed, and, thanks to a donation from a member of the local community a modern steel-framed structure, which occupies an identical physical footprint, will be erected in its place. This method will dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of construction compared to a new build.
Our principle challenge were underlying structural concerns with the need to raise the very large sums involved have been considered too great for such a small community meant that the project could not initially proceed. Only when we received an offer of a donated superstructure together with funding from a range of sources did the project become a feasible opportunity that has excited our entire community
We have consulted extensively with the wider community in creating our project and we are grateful to numerous village halls who generously shared meaningful information with us. The hall design itself was conceived after visits to many other village halls, especially those recently built, helping to inform our initial brief to the Architect. Funding sources were identified following discussions with other village halls and also following ongoing advice from Warwickshire Community & Voluntary Action (CAVA). Our funding applications also have benefited from accepting CAVA’s professional advice.
Our membership of Warwickshire Rural Communities Council and Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) have contributed significantly to our portfolio of documents and policies, all of which have been fully overhauled in preparation for our new hall. We are fortunate in having committee members able to have access significant advice from a number of companies and organisations who have expressed interest in our project. A firm of multi-disciplinary consulting engineers, for instance, has been instrumental in freely offering help and advice concerning the carbon saving nature of our project. Proposals were firmly built on their suggestions and recommendations. We also received helpful support from a firm of building consultants with experience of property refurbishments, advice from management consultants, project managers, a firm of marketing experts and digital trainers, all of whom are supportive of our project.
We see significant mutual benefits in working closely with neighbouring village halls and would wish to establish a more formal network. Our County Councillor has been extremely supportive of our project and has positively encouraged us at every turn and on every level. His presence at meets and positive comments lent additional credibility to the project with members of our community.
Energy consumption for periods following completion of the project and hours in use.