Welcome to Sowton Village
The approach to the Village
Village get togethers
Known locally as 'The Drive'
Formerly known as Back Lodge
Hall Refurbishment Latest
Sowton Village Church
History of the people that have lived in and around Sowton Village
Photo's taken at various times of the year
Refurbishment Grants


December 13th 2021
Having completed the repairs and requests from the survey of 2016 we have now moved on to “the nice to have” issues raised since. Curtains for the main room, new indoor chairs and a cinema set up was one idea for future events. We have been successful in securing grants of £5740 from the National Lottery,
£3000 paid on production of receipts from DCCs Reconnect, Rebuild, Recover initiative (COVID recovery) and £2000 from our local Councillors Randall-Johnson and Gent to achieve this.
Total: £10,740
The new chairs costing £2,143.68 arrived on Friday 10th December just in time for our social evening and looked very smart. £2,179.54 paid for curtains to be able to darken the room for films etc and blinds for the toilets. These will be fitted at the end of January. The cinema equipment will be the last as it depends on the light levels once the curtains are in place. We may need acoustic clouds as the hall can echo if there are only a few people using it. 

We will have £6,416.78 to cover trhis.

There have been changes to your committee during September/October 2021. Jane Dodd (Chair), Babinder Sandhar, Shane Hardy and Sue Lawrie have resigned. Mike O’Donnell is currently acting Chair. Two new committee members joined in October 2021, Ben Marsh and Jo Anderson.

October 8th 2021
We were unable to hold the planned June get together. Due to a spike in the pandemic large gatherings were put on hold. This was eventually able to go ahead on the 30th July and it was so good to meet up and chat to everyone.
We have since held a Barbeque in August and a Harvest supper in September. all these events were well attended, great fun and good to see a return to "normality".
We have been successful with our grant appication from the National Lottery's Awards for All programme and have been awarded funds to buy curtains, replace the aging indoor chairs and a home cinema set up. We have two other grant applications pending to enable us to complete this work..
We did hope to have the curtains fitted in time for our Christmas Social but we are a week beyond the cut off date for pre-Christmas appointments with Soft Options Honiton Ltd. The wait will be worth it and give us an excuse to hold a celebratory event. Never having had any curtains before it wil certainly improve the ambience of evening events and they are neccessary to be able to darken the room for film showing. 

May 15th 2021
As some of the pandemic restrictions have been lifted, we have had a couple of hall bookings for very small gatherings. The first income for 15 months. Fortunately we had sufficent funds in the kitty to pay the utility bills. The proposed end of lockdown is June the 21st which also the first day of summer and everyone is invited to celebrate in the hall courtyard from 6.30pm. Bring your own food which you can share with others if you wish. Wine, beer and soft drinks will be free.
We now have a card reader, which takes all major bank cards, for payments during events for those that would like this payment method. 
The rotten passageway door is being replaced on the 19th July. It will also be moved nearer the entrance to allow improved wheelchair access past the steps into the hall.

June 30th 2020
The kitchen refit was completed early in June and as indoor activities are still not permitted the trustees decided to go ahead with the chimney stack in the middle room which is in a very poor state of repair with crumbling plaster and broken cupboard frames. The work will start on Monday 29th June. Once this is finished all that remains is for volunteers to emulsion the walls. All issues raised in the village survey of 2016 will have been accomplished.

We now have Wi-Fi  in the hall thanks to Jurassic Fibre who, true to their word in the public meeting last year, fitted the modem on the 19th June for free. A password is required, please ask any of the trustees when you are in the hall. We are not sure at this time what monthly data allowance we have.
Sadly the Adoption Consultancy who hired the hall every weekday will not be returning. They have been victims of the pandemic and are now working with a staff of four instead of nineteen. They have removed all of their equipment and given us their shed which will be useful storage for the BBQ , chairs, skittles etc.
Hopefully the refurbished hall and Wi-Fi access will make the hall an attractive venue for others to hire.

May 7th 2020
The end of March, all of April and possibly May has seen the country in total lockdown to slow down the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. As the village hall is closed until free movement is permitted and social isolation being easy to achieve there we asked Devon Minor Works if they wanted work during this difficult time, if so, we would be happy for them to paint the hall external window frames from dark red to white. This was done the 4-8th May. They have also brought forward the date to refit the kitchen and build the storage shelf in the middle room to Monday18th May.
We were unsuccessful with our grant applications to Screwfix and The Stuart Halbert Foundations and awaiting to hear from The Sowton Relief in Need Charity. There was good news however, Michael O'Donnell was invited, as treasurer, to apply for £10,000 from East Devon District Council as a Support Grant which was  announced in the recent budget. He did and was successful. It is hoped that some of this money could be set aside to build up a reserve for the future. At least a years expenses with an eye on the thatched roof replacement costs would be ideal

March 11th 2020
The gents toilet has been replaced and new flooring fitted in both the toilet and lobby with Altro Safety Flooring. There is an issue with damp walls. The original outside wall (became an internal wall when the kitchen and toilets were built in the 80s) has rising damp. We are getting advise on this.

We have received grant money to refit the kitchen and install a high shelf accessed via a loft ladder in the adjoining room giving us much needed storage space.The grants were £1,382 from our local councillors Ray Bloxham and Sara Randall-Johnson and £7,131 from The Morrison’s Foundation. Quotes for the refit and shelf is £9,132 This leaves a £619 shortfall which we have in our bank account.
Devon Minor Works will do the work in the school summer holiday break to minimise disruption to hirers.
We were unsuccessful in our application to the Charities Aid Foundation and have decisions pending from Screwfix, The Stuart Halbert Foundation and The Sowton Relief in Need Charity. If successful these grants will enable us to complete the refit with a larger cooker and a fridge/freezer.

February 10th 2020
The current work in hand (toilet to accommodate disabled access, new front door, external ramp and wider kitchen door accessible to wheelchairs) has been completed. Work to replace the old gents toilet, wash basin and new flooring including the lobby will start on Monday 17th February and expected to take 8 days to complete. Our next task is to refurbish the kitchen and install a large shelf in the middle room for storage and we are currently seeking funds to do this. We were unsuccessful with our application to the Charities Aid Foundation and are waiting for a decision from the Stuart Halbert Foundation and a second application to Screwfix.  Our request for a grant from the EDDC Community Building Fund was cancelled due to numerous repetitive emails asking for the information that had already been submitted. This was after they lost our revised application for a while. 

December 12th 2019
The new toilet with disabled facilities, ramp, wider doorway has been done and the old toilet internal walls have been removed extending the kitchen. Currently the sanitary ware and electrics are in progress. We received our first invoice for £18,000 from Devon Minor Works which has been paid by Viridor Credits (£16,750) and the Foyle Foundation (£1,250) 
The kitchen ceiling has been renewed and with the addition of spotlights has made the kitchen much brighter. As the new toilet door would have snagged the front door a new one has been ordered which will be slightly narrower keeping the same design but in hardwood. Our next challenge for 2020 will be to seek funds a new fitted kitchen, replace what was the gents toilet and new flooring for the kitchen, lobby and toilet. We were unsuccessful in securing a grant from Screwfix. Applications pending are £3,131 towards the kitchen from the Stuart Halbert Foundation and £4,731 towards kitchen and toilet from the Charities Aid Foundation. 

November 2nd 2019
Great news, we have been awarded £16,750 from Viridor Credits Environmental Company to build the new disabled toilet and ramp. An award from Viridor Credits is a major achievement and is a lengthy process so to get this money for our hall is terrific. To receive the award we have to submit 10% of the award from a contributing third party within the month. This we have done with money from the hire of the hall and recent events (£1,675)
Work starts next week and is expected to take 4-6weeks. The Adoption Consultancy are hiring another venue for the duration. Other hirers should not be affected too much and certainly not in the early days when the extension will be built from the outside before creating the doorway into the lobby.

October 7th 2019
Nick Ellet has removed the rotten wood and plastered the lobby. This repair work has made a huge improvement to the entrance and we hope to paint it within the next 2weeks.
A site meeting with the Viridor liaison officer has been arranged for Thursday 10th October. Hopefully he will support our plans to put forward to the steering group at the end of the month.
We were unsuccessful with our grant application to the Tudor Trust.

August 4th 2019
Awaiting funding decisions from Viridor Credits (who are going to visit the hall before progressing, no date arranged yet), Awards for All, Screwfix, EDDC Community Building Fund (Jan) and the Tudor Trust (Nov) for  varying amounts towards the disabled toilet, ramp and door widening. We are also waiting for a quote to repair the plaster work in the lobby and the wall in the middle room from Nick Ellet. Once we have that we have the funds to go ahead as soon as Nick can do it. The pool table that was in the lobby is now in the middle room and looks much tidier.

June 28th 2019
The yard facing windows have been replaced and are currently being painted. They are a vast improvement on the old single glazed casement windows and will be more energy efficient. We have received a grant
of £500 from the Elmgrant Trust in Totnes towards the refurbishment. Stage 2 application to Viridor Credits for £16,750 to build the disabled toilet has been submitted and we await their decision.

May 4th 2019

The chimney stack has been repointed and a water seal applied from below the stack to ground level. Thanks to Shane Hardy for the scaffolding.
We have been granted £5000 from the Foyle Foundation to put towards the new extension for the ladies/disabled toilet. The money will be released once we have a firm date for the work or a receipt. We have also been awarded £500 towards the kitchen extension from The Norman Family Charitable trust.
The Percy Bilton charity declined our grant request.
We have applied to Viridor Credits as we are within 10miles of the Exeter Energy Recovery Facility for help with the ladies/disabled toilet and have been invited to go to stage two. They stipulate three quotes for the work so we cannot complete stage two until we get two more quotes. 

April 5th  2019
The main hall is nearing completion. All that remains is to remove the dead cabling and defunct trunking, fill, sand and paint the holes and paint the fire place. The chimney has been swept and if it scrubs up well it will be painted as a feature rather than reboard it.
A chimney balloon will be inserted to stop draughts.
Mike Palmer has finished painting the beams and they look great. Our thanks Mike, where would we be without him? Thanks to Mark Thomas for the loan of his tower to do this work.
The pictures can then go back. 

Andy Thomas will repair the chimney stack w/c 22nd April, thank you to Shane Hardy for providing the scaffolding.  
The windows facing the back garden are being made and we have a proposed date to fit them in June.

March 14th 2019
Good News
Shane Hardy has joined the committee and Yvette is considering joining. We welcome them and look forward to their involvement 

February 2019
All the heating and electrics in the main hall are now complete, our thanks to Mark Thomas and Ross who have done a fantastic job.The old wiring and trunking will need removing as soon as it can be arranged, possibly around Easter.
We have been granted £5000 towards the refurbishment by the Barnard Sunley Foundation, the money will be released on application once we have either the receipt for work done or a firm quote and start date. 

December 2018
The secondary glazing has now been fitted to the main hall and middle room thanks to Councillors Ray Bloxham and Sara Randall-Johnson supporting our application for funding from DCC.

Mark Thomas and his apprentice Ross  fitted 3 new LED strip lights and 6 dimmable wall lights in time for our Christmas Social. They look terrific and gave the occasion the ambience that we were hoping for. 

Our application for funding from The Big Lottery Awards For All was successful and we have £4,750 for the  main hall electrics. Approx half of this has been spent on the new fuse box, wiring, switches and lights.The remainder is for new heaters and power sockets. 
Sadly we were unsuccessful with our funding requst to the Garfield Weston Foundation for the ramp, disabled toilet and kitchen. 

November 2018

1. Lampard Restorations, Copplestone collected and stripped the two hall internal doors. Martin Hedley has nearly finished painting them.

2. Councillors Ray Bloxham and Sara Randall-Johnson supported  our application for secondary glazing for the high windows (6) and Invest in Devon (DCC) has awarded us the £5111.70 to enable this.

3. We were unsuccessful with our claim to the Big Lottery Fund but have been advised to apply for smaller parts of the refurbishment under their Awards for All programme.

4. An application for the £26,750 extension work was submitted to the Garfield Weston Foundation on the 26th September for consideration. Decisions can take up to 3months.

5. We now have a key safe fitted by the alley arch, this is to make access easier for hirers of the hall.

March 2018
The ceiling and existing beams have been painted. The low coat hooks in the lobby have been removed and a new higher rail has replaced them. An application has been submitted for consideration to the Big Lottery Fund for
 to enlarge the kitchen, build a new disabled/ladies toilet by the existing gents toilet, rewire throughout, replace current white goods with more substantial ones, widen the back door for disabled access and fit a ramp in the courtyard. Over the coming weeks we aim to continue painting and repairing where we can. Any help will be most welcome, please contact any of the trustees,

February 2018
Thanks to the Exeter lions Club, Sir John & Lady Amory Trust, The Norman Family Charitable Trust and Sowton Relief in Need we now have a defibrillator. It has been fitted below the lamp post outside thev hall.Training for the defibrillator was completed over 2 sessions. Thank you to Dr Babinder Sandhar for the training and to everyone who attended. The defibrillator has been fitted to the lamp post outside the hall. Once switched on the machine talks you through what you have to do. 

September 2017
We have been granted full planning permission for the hall improvements. We now have to apply for Building Regulation approval. 

July 2017
Ceiling repair works are now being undertaken in the hall.
Plans for hall improvements have been submitted to East Devon District Council Planning Office and are pending a decision. 

March 2017
The survey in June last year had many suggestions for improvements and activities for the hall.
We have started to repair the ceiling in the main hall and we are waiting for the plasterer to replace the damaged plaster before we can paint the walls. Another request was for a defibrillator and we have now raised £1,170 from four different charities and purchased the defibrillator and an external cabinet to house it. There will be a first aid event in the hall later this year.  Details will be given in the newsletter.

July 2016
We applied sucessfully for a grant towards repairs to the thatched roof (which is leaking) from councillor Peter Bowden. The grant will cover most of the cost and the remainder will come from monies raised from the fete on July 2nd. The thatcher has done a temporary repair to prevent any further damage from the weather and he will do a more permanent repair in October. 
****This was completed 5th December 2016****

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