The new building is the third Village Hall to be built in Bawdeswell.
The first hall was built in 1924 in the Street. At that time a charitable trust was set up by 3 local landowners to provide “a parish room for the use and recreation of parishioners”. They and their successors have run the village hall ever since. In 1989 the Trust was registered as the Bawdeswell Parish Room charity.
In 1985 Bawdeswell Parish Council bought the freehold of a large field for village recreational purposes.
In 1992 the charity sold the Parish Room and put the proceeds towards the building of a new Hall on part of the recreation ground designated for it. At the same time the Bowls Club sold its land and moved to its current site which is owned by the Club.
Unfortunately there were only funds available to build one third of the proposed new hall at that time. The Parish Council made a Declaration of Trust that it held the Village Hall as custodian trustee for the Charity and the Village Hall Committee has managed that part-building ever since.
In 2003 a Parish Appraisal was carried out which highlighted the activities that residents would like established to improve lives in Bawdeswell. James Lilwall (a Parish Councillor) set up an open meeting in October 2004 to address those needs.
An unconstituted committee of volunteers, which eventually became known as Project Bawdeswell, was formed as a result of that meeting to identify and facilitate the needs of the village. It then spawned Bawdeswell Activities Group (BAG), whose mission was to initiate new activities within the village. The children’s school holiday activities, the Bridge group, Table Tennis group, Village Cinema etc. were all established. Project Bawdeswell worked to obtain grants to upgrade the Children’s Play Area. Other activities were seen as needed when a further survey was carried out in 2006 and it was then that it was agreed that the larger building originally envisaged was needed to accommodate the growing needs of the village.
At that time grant funding was particularly difficult to obtain as all funding was being directed towards the Olympic Games in London in 2010. A Buy a Brick Scheme was set up and events organised to raise funds – a Royal wedding disco, a Diamond Jubilee street party, the Extravaganzas, etc.
Eventually in 2011 when our postcode made us eligible, Lottery funding was sought.
Unfortunately because Project Bawdeswell was just a group of volunteers it was not eligible to apply to the Lottery, however, without the work it had done the Village Hall Committee would not have had the evidence needed to back-up its Lottery application which had to be based on “needs” rather than “wants”.
As only the owners of the land can seek grants to build on that land, in July 2012 the Project Bawdeswell volunteers amalgamated with the Village Hall Committee in order to write the first Lottery grant application. The story of that process can be seen elsewhere on this website.
The Parish Council continues as Custodian Trustee but the members of the committee are registered as the Trustees with the Charity Commission. They make an annual return to the Commission and have to act within the confines of the Charity Commission Act.
So the history of Bawdeswell Village Halls to date is one of philanthropy and volunteers. From the first donation of land and a building in 1924; to the work undertaken by the Parish Council at the end of the 1980s/beginning of the 1990s to upgrade the facilities for the village with the purchase of the recreation field and the building of the one third building; to the work of many, many volunteers running activities in that hall in the last 12 years or so and to the commitment of the Village Hall Committee with its members giving generously of their talents and time to what was needed for the successful completion of the new hall. All this has been achieved not by “them” but by “us”, all of us, the residents of this village past and present, and of which we can be justly proud.