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New Forest District Council to spend more than £213,000 from Contain Outbreak Management Fund on St George’s Hall in Calshot

LEFTOVER cash from a Covid pandemic grant is to be spent transforming a New Forest community hall.

New Forest District Council currently has just over £213,000 in the the Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF), allocated by the government.

A report by the council explained that after discussions with the director of Public Health, St George’s Hall was identified as a frontrunner for the funding.

St George's Hall in Calshot is set for a raft of improvements (Picture: Google)
St George's Hall in Calshot is set for a raft of improvements (Picture: Google)

The report explained: “Calshot is one of our most isolated communities with higher-than-average levels of deprivation.

“The village has no shop or other facilities, [and] the only community asset is St George’s Hall.”

The hall was built in 1913 and consists of a number of rooms, including a kitchen, two toilets and two small storage areas.

It has a separate but connected small unconsecrated Chaplain’s Room, which has not been used for “many years”.

Plans to improve the facility, which holds a weekly food larder and youth club, include reconfiguring the main room, upgrading kitchen and revamping the toilets.

This would enable ‘cooking on a budget’ classes and greater community events to be held, while the outside space would be improved.

The report explained the community had expressed an interest in using the hall’s garden, currently blighted by flytipping, for nature and ‘grow and eat’ projects.

It added: “There is scope for significant improvements to be made to the hall which could be transformative for the local community if a vibrant and inviting hub is created, providing a facility for all the community to enjoy, with significantly greater use than that which currently exists.”

The decision to release the funding was jointly agreed by cabinet member for community, safety, and wellbeing, Cllr Dan Poole, and member for finance and corporate, Cllr Jeremy Heron.

While the money would not cover the entire cost of the project, the council said it planned to look into obtaining further funds from the New Forest Rural England Prosperity Fund Community Infrastructure Grant.

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