Middlewich Community Trust is about developing stable, successful and sustainable community-based facilities for the people of Middlewich to benefit from.
When the Town Council took over running the Victoria Building and the Civic Hall, it was a great step forward to bring some great community spaces back into local control. But with years of underinvestment, the challenge is to bring the Civic Hall, now named The Victoria Hall, into a more modern, adaptable community space.
A group of local people started to think “what if?”
What if there was a way to bring more attention to the large space that could be used for parties, wedding receptions, events, meetings or activities?
What if there was a way to bring the garden area into use?
What if there was a way that more people knew about the space and knew they could book it?
What if there was a way bring additional funding to the hall so that the cost to local people to bring it back to life was reduced?
Middlewich Community Trust was formed.
The Trust is a “not for profit” organisation. That means the Trustees volunteer their time and skills. There is no remuneration for being a Trustee and even when the Trust becomes self-sustaining, all monies are refocused into new development projects and specified reserves.
The Trust is already a Company Limited by Guarantee, a standard structure for community organisations that underpins our governance with standard ways of working that match the requirements of Companies House. In time we will be applying for charitable status, which will help bring more funding options, supplier discounts and a further layer of governance to underpin all that we do.
There are many projects that we want to achieve for The Victoria Hall In no particular order, here are just a few
- Open up the garden area
- Replace the curtains
- Repair and maintain the dance floor
- Expand and upgrade the bar
- Expand and upgrade the kitchen
- Replace the tables and chairs
- Take advantage of energy saving initiatives
- Advertise how the space can be used for all sorts of events
What would you add to that list?
How does grant funding work?
When a project is developed, such as opening up the garden, we start by getting rough costings of the work so that we are aware what level of funding might be needed. The next stage is to find funding opportunities that match that type of project, review the guidelines and develop a bid that suits what we want to do and what the funders want their money to achieve. This may be applying to one or more funders.
When we are successful, the money granted goes into a “Restricted Fund”. Every grant application is given to achieve specific things. It cannot be spent elsewhere, even if something more important comes up. Funders will monitor spend during the project as well as at the end and if we do not complete the planned actions and objectives, they have the right to ask for a refund.
Grant funding is specific, focused and highly monitored. The Trust has the systems in place to cope with monies we win.
Where else can we get money for projects?
Donations from individuals and companies, fundraising through events, making a surplus from hall use that we can reinvest are just a few.
What are your memories of using the “Civic”? Do you have pictures of events you have held there that are special to you? Would you be happy to share your memories with us so we can build a portfolio of the Civic through the ages.
- Generate reserves to continue the development process
- Management of buildings and staff
- Marketing of facilities and events
- Modernisation of The Victoria Hall, including a new outside area, bar area and kitchen
Victoria Technology School and Museum was opened in 1898 as part of the celebrations for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It was hoped to create a learning facility for all and included a library as well as the museum. Since 1900, the building, known as Victoria Building, was used as offices by various local and district authorities, as well as providing office accommodation for local businesses and community associations. Today, the building has office space over two floors, retains many of its original features.
The Civic Hall, known now as The Victoria Hall, was opened on 12th September 1969 and is the largest community facility of its kind in Middlewich. It has a high ceiling, with the roof supported by locally known ‘whale bones’ made of wood, giving it a very distinctive look.
The buildings were passed through local authorities for many years. Most recently (in 2012), Cheshire East Council transferred them to Middlewich Town Council. Now the Town Council wants to ensure the buildings are run for the benefit of local people – hence the formation of Middlewich Community Trust Limited.
The trust will initially concentrate on the improvement and marketing of The Victoria Hall. This was specifically designed for functions and events and is widely acknowledged to have the best dance floor in the area. The main aim is to make the building self-sustaining but any reserves will be held to develop the buildings further. Income will be generated via events, donations, sponsorship and trading.