Party time as kitchen reopens

Chiddingly Village Hall new kitchen.

Chiddingly Village Hall new kitchen.

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It was party time at Chiddingly Village Hall on Friday (September 20) when the community turned out to celebrate the grand re-opening of the hall’s kitchen, after more than two years fundraising for a refurbishment.

The kitchen has been completely restyled and re-equipped with new stainless steel equipment replacing the old wooden units, and the installation of non-slip flooring.

Residents, organisations, and the parish council raised half the money needed to embark on the project with one resident even taking part in a parachute jump.

But even with the hall’s emergency reserves, the hall was short of the funds needed to complete the refurbishment.

The project was given a much needed boost when the hall secured a grant of £8,212 from the Big Lottery Fund.

Wealden District Council also offered a grant of £4000.

Now after hard work and determination the kitchen is finally finished and was opened on Friday by Cllr Barby Dashwood-Morris where residents, councillors and committee members sampled food and nibbles served from the newly opened kitchen.

The hall’s management committee said the old kitchen had served the community well for more than 20 years, but was showing its age.

A spokeswoman for the committee said: “The project, which was funded by grants from the Lottery, Wealden District Council and village fundraising including a parachute jump, was the result of many months planning by the management committee, all volunteering many hours of time in aid of this well-used village resource. The new facilities were instantly put to good use in providing nibbles and home-made cake from the committee members who raised their glasses to toast the occasion.

“Present to share the rejoicing were Village Hall Managing Committee chairman Steve Tolhurst, Parish Council chairman Mike Goss, treasurer Robin Symington, secretary Bea Gatrell, and representatives from Short Mat Bowls, Saturday market, Chiddingly Horse Show, Woman’s Insititute , Chiddingly Festival, the Horticultural Society, Chiddingly Church, and friends (pictured). Many of those present were representing several user groups and village organisations at once as Chiddingly is a very busy for its size. Caretaker Richard Bean and booking clerk Jenny Bean complete the team needed to keep the Village Hall available to hire round the year. Local builder Jeremy Easter, who brought the refurbishment in on time and in budget, was also there to see his work put to good use.”