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Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Not the First Time

Mike Evanson (Chairman of the Trustees of the Village Hall Trust) recalls past community support for the School and Village Hall.

"The story begins in 1865, when the residents of Combs funded the building of a chapel and gave it to the Wesleyan Church. In 1992, structural defects were spotted that meant the 70 or so years of use as a school would be brought to a sudden end.

"But the community of Combs rose to the challenge, and the £44,000 that was raised enabled the school to continue, albeit with no extra space being provided for community activities.

"The next challenge came in 1996, when an Improvement Notice was served, requiring changes to the toilet facilities. The Trust put in a short term solution by renting portaloo toilets and then set out to find the means to enhance the village amenities. In 1997, a project team in the village had fought for and won grant funding of £53,000. This was matched by funds - either in kind or cash - raised by the community, and the £106,000 project to build the village Hall began.

"The result was what you see today - a multi use facility comprising a school with two classrooms, a Village Hall and a community Church, which is used by all ages for a wide variety of community activities.

Mike concluded, "We believe that the responses to the past challenges within Combs demonstrate beyond doubt the wholehearted and energetic community support. However, given the nature of the partnership model - between Methodists, Village Hall Trust, and the School - our view is that the proposed closure of Combs School would have a significant detrimental effect on the ability of the community facilities to survive."

Plan of the building at time of 1997 extension.

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