The Colman Redland Centre, in Croydon Road, Reigate, is appealing for funds to complete and open its new hall.
Construction on the new hall began in 2010, having been discussed for a number of years prior to that. The aim is to “produce a hall better fitted to modern requirements”. New toilets, facilities for disabled people, underfloor heating and a lobby for those waiting for activities are included. There is also a new committee room suitable for meetings of up to 20 people.
However, the Colman Institute says that to get the hall open will cost around £20,000, as a number of fittings and other items need to be installed. The project hit some problems earlier on in the work, leading to the shortfall.
Currently there are two existing halls on the community centre site, which serves up to 1,000 people every week through the various groups that use the premises. Activities include Brownies, Guides, ballroom dancing, Scottish dancing, children’s classes (such as music, dance and craft), U3A classes, bridge classes, karate, tai chi, wargames and metal detecting. The halls are also hired out for one-off occasions such as children’s parties, NCT events and charity functions.
Proposed future projects include demolition of the original small hall (which has been in need of replacement or upgrade), work on the car park and, subject to planning permission, a new split entrance and exit.
The Colman Institute takes its name from Sir Jeremiah Colman, of the “Colman’s mustard” family. In 1904 he created a hall for local people in Redhill, but that was compulsorily purchased in 1971 owing to redevelopment of that part of the town. In 1974 the Colman Institute began negotiations with various parties to take a lease over the Croydon Road site: at one time this had been owned by Redland Tiles, but had become the Redland Youth Centre. With the construction of a new hall in addition to the smaller existing one, the Colman Redland Centre officially opened in 1982.
Chairman Andy Skilling said of the latest project: “We are happy to provide a new hall to bring into reality Jeremiah Colman’s concept of ‘a hall for the local people’”.
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