Building Blog

We’re feeling fairly chipper. If you look skywards as you walk down Exeter Street, you’ll see why. We’ve got a new roof. Not only does it look pretty splendid, but we’re feeling the benefits inside. We’re watertight and super-insulated, meaning that you’ll be warm and dry when you next visit. And we’ll be paying lower fuel bills to boot.

2014-10-19 14.47.25

Not only that – but when the cost of the project looked like it might escalate – we got creative. Broken and damaged tiles meant that we didn’t have enough to just renovate and replace the existing ones. But we knew that they’d be great to reuse on smaller projects. We salvaged them and sold them on. Volunteers stacked up over 11,000 of the Kent clay peg tiles and that’s helped us to save over £5000. Not bad!

Better still, whilst the money from The People’s Millions was enough to cover the large main roof, we still needed to address the smaller roof at the back of the Hall. Volunteers got stuck in and have completed the work, which would otherwise have cost us an additional £15,000. It’s been an incredible team effort.

2014-10-19 14.40.56

Our dra2014-10-29 08.43.24ins have been quite the horror story. They were badly broken and causing untold damp in the back room, rendering it unusable. Money raised from fundraising events and donations in June is putting this situation right.

Work on this badly-needed repair should be completed in the next few days meaning our back room can finally start to dry out. It also means we’ll have access to the gents toilets, although we will need some serious DIY to get them ready for use.

Got some skills?

Email info@exeterstreethall.org to offer help!

 

We’ve incredibly grateful to the following people:

Our building team
We know they’re a modest bunch, but we’d like to give our volunteer building team a name check. They’ve worked their socks off on this project. From scoping the work, drawing up plans, handling the tender, supervising the contractors and getting stuck in themselves. We hope they feel justifiably proud about seeing this project through to completion. Heartfelt thanks to:

Jonathan Dall, Manolis Datseris, Richard Davies, Dave Fellows, Patrick Fitzsimons, Pete Golton, Martin Moore, and Amanda Nichols.

All our volunteers are talented. But we’ve been incredibly lucky to have an accomplished architect on the team. Manolis Datseris has worked pro bono on this project. His expertise has had a dramatic impact. Planning some architectural work? Manolis consults on residential and commercial projects, so we’ve included his contact details here.

manolis_sign

Our building dust busters
We’re indebted to Catherine Cole and Susan Corlett who transformed the interior of the Hall, clearing up the considerable mess that a building project can create.

Our contractors
Sussex Building Services worked hard to bring the project in on budget and on time. They were creative, professional and a pleasure to do business with.

R&M Scaffolding donated the scaffolding to the Hall for free. We’re thrilled to have been given such tremendous support from a brilliant, local company.

Our neighbours
Building work involves a fair bit of movement and noise during the working week. We endeavoured to keep disruption to a minimum, but we’re very grateful to our neighbours for being so understanding.

The People’s Millions
The People’s Millions is a partnership between Big Lottery Fund and ITV. They’ve given over £27.8 million to good causes to date. The public decided to award us with £50,000 of National Lottery funding. Awesome.

Our People’s Millions campaign team
This time last year, a small team worked flat out to spread the word about our chance to win. They secured a staggering 11,325 phone votes and made our dream to replace our leaky, creaky roof a reality.

You
Exeter Street Hall is a community space. That means nothing happens without local engagement. And we’ve been lucky. When it comes to the crunch, people step up. So thank you for buying shares, voting for us last year, supporting events and spreading the word. Small deeds really do make a great, big difference.

EcoOpenHouses
It’s been great to re-open the Hall as part of the EcoOpenHouses, celebrating our efforts to restore the building and reduce its environmental impact. It’s early days, but so far we’ve replaced lighting with commercial LED units, which have cut lighting energy use by 75%. We’ve insulated the roof to tackle heat loss and inefficient old heaters have been removed and replaced with a high-level warm air unit.

2014-10-19 14.34.54For the Eco Open Houses event, we produced a roof section
highlighting the new 140mm of insulation installed in the roof.

Of course, we still have much to do. We face challenges. The Hall was woefully neglected for a long time and we can only forge on with improvements when we have the funds. Volunteers are continually seeking grants and working on fundraising events and campaigns. It’s a long-term project, but we’ve made an inspiring start.

We’d estimate that over 1000 volunteer hours have contributed to this project. We’re proud of everyone who has played their part. Thank you.

Tip-top raffle prizes

raffle-tickets

BIG thanks to our tremendously supportive raffle prize givers for our inaugural Sports Panel evening on Friday 14 November at 7.30pm at the Hall (see below). We were blown away by their generosity. Kind donations from Sussex County Cricket Club, the BBC and Brighton & Hove Albion mean that we’ve got some stellar prizes on offer. Do you live in the neighbourhood? We’ll be calling on you soon to offer you the chance to buy a raffle ticket and win one of these gems soon:

  • A cricket bat signed by the Sussex County Cricket Club team
  • Four tickets to the filming of Top Gear
  • Two tickets to a Brighton & Hove Albion match

Raffle tickets will also be available on Friday 14 November when we host the best sports journalists in the biz in an entertaining Q&A session. Tickets are selling as fast as a gold medal sprinter, so book now at www.exeterstreethall.org/tickets/ to secure your seat. There’ll be a licensed bar and an anecdote-packed evening.

Fancy knocking on doors, selling raffle tickets and spreading the word? You just need to contact
volunteer@exeterstreethall.org to offer to be a street rep. We’d be ever so grateful.

Sports Panel

Friday 14 November at 7.30pm at the Hall
Tickets: £8
Concessions (unemployed / students, and anyone aged over 65): £5

We just wanted to give you the heads up. Tickets are now on sale for this show-stopping event. We have an amazing line-up of some of the best sports journalists in the business. Here’s the team sheet:

Nick Szczepanik, football reporter for The Independent on Sunday, will chair a panel including:
* Paul Hayward, multi award-winning chief sports writer of the Daily Telegraph
* Lynne Truss, former sports feature writer with The Times and author of Get Her Off The Pitch
* Mick Cleary, rugby correspondent of the Daily Telegraph
* Paul Weaver, Formula One correspondent of The Guardian and co-author of Flight of the Martlets: the Golden Age of Sussex Cricket
* Peter Nichols, writer who has covered ten Olympic Games for the Guardian, Times and Daily Telegraph.

Check out latest tweets from some of our guests here:
https://twitter.com/NickSzczepanik
https://twitter.com/_PaulHayward
https://twitter.com/MickClearyTel

You can submit questions in advance or on the night. It’s set to be an entertaining evening of anecdotes and a chance to get the inside track on what makes athletes tick and what makes for a compelling news story.

We’re about to start advertising widely – so if you want to bag your seat, don’t delay. We’d love to see you there!

Book online at www.exeterstreethall.org/tickets quick sharp!

Please do spread the word to any sports fans. Thanks!

Sponsored by John Hoole
Untitled-1

Meet The THGI Team

Exeter Street Hall belongs to the community. We love hearing what being involved with the Hall, volunteering or your neighbourhood means to you. We’ll be featuring blog posts from our volunteers, shareholders, guests, hirers, sponsors and fellow activists. Email comms@exeterstreethall.org if you’d like to chime in with 300 words or so.

What better way to kick off than with a Hall hero? Iain Chambers has been involved from the get-go, not only contributing to the successful campaign to buy the hall, but regularly rolling up his sleeves and staging stellar events. Here’s why…

iain_c

If you engaged with the Scottish referendum, and it was pretty hard not to, you’d have sensed the energy emanating from people on both sides of the issue at hand, much of it positive. I think one reason for this was the feeling that this was no time for a barely considered tick on the ballot paper, let alone opting out altogether. The subsequent unprecedented high turnout has reflected well upon Scotland and its people, young and old. This really mattered.

Now I know what you are thinking – what on earth has this to do with Exeter Street Hall? Are we planning a big vote on the colour of the front door (perhaps it could be ‘gordon’ brown?)? No, my Laboured (that’s quite enough – Ed) point is that I often feel the same energy when I’m involved with the hall. This matters. It feels like more than just saving an old but distinguished building so that the community can still meet up. It runs deeper than that. As we watch our roof being renovated, insulated and sealed against the winter weather to come, it really feels as if we are weather-proofing this community. I love living in a community that has its own street parties, dances, comedy shows, banquets and food markets. I love it that the Prestonville pub will raise money for the hall by staging beer festivals. I love it that the local schools are shareholders in our hall. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no walk in the park for everyone who makes these things happen. Yet even when I think to myself “Blimey, why did I put my name down, I’m too busy for this”, I always end up chuffed to bits when I see the results of everyone’s efforts, and when I see a hall full of my neighbours having a great time together, in the hall we all own. It makes me feel better about life, and that’s no mean feat when five minutes of listening to the news can bring me to tears.

So I would urge you to get involved to help continue the still pretty gargantuan task of renovating and running the hall. There will never be a shortage of things to do, money to raise, events to stage, loos to clean, walls to paint, cakes to bake, stalls to man, chairs to stack, quizzes to devise. We need people who can just give an hour or two washing up at an event or baking a cake just as much as we need people to take on the more involved jobs running the Community Company that owns the hall. Take my word for it, one of the most gratifying things for those of us who have been involved in the hall project for the last few years has been watching new people come forward recently to join in, lightening the load for others, and full of enthusiasm and ideas and energy. Come and join us and you never know, we might even witness unprecedented queues outside the hall next May as our community seizes its own democratic opportunity, and then ruminates over the unfolding results well into the evening in our lovely, warm, dry hall!

Come party with DJ Vinette at Circus Circus

WE REGRET THAT DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND OUR CONTROL THIS EVENT HAS HAD TO BE CANCELLED.

The Hall is closed for a few more weeks but we can dance and have a few drinks just down the hill and upstairs at Circus Circus pub by Preston Circus. This fundraiser is a joint benefit for Exeter Street Hall and for domestic violence charity RISE.

Come and dance your socks off on Saturday 4th October 8pm to midnight. Tickets cost £5, £10 or £15 depending on what you want to pay.

Click here to buy tickets.

Circus Circus

Beer Festival

Beer! Have we got your attention? Jolly good. The Prestonville Arms are hosting a beer festival on the 12,13 and 14 September (that’s this very weekend, people!) with 15 real ales and a cider. Twenty pence from every pint will be donated to the Hall. Love ‘em. And there’s live music with The Radiokings on Saturday night too.

Putting the ‘fun’ back into ‘fundraising’. See you there!

Beer Festival - 2014 Sept

Roof Repair

We’re under way! Local firm SBS are working hard on our roof repair. BIG thanks too to R&M Scaffolding for providing scaffolding for free and, of course, The People’s Millions (Big Lottery Fund and ITV) for footing the bill. Perhaps inevitably, with a complex project, we’ve been hit with a delay, but we’re on track for a couple of events at the end of October and to re-open to our patient and loyal hirers in November.
biglotteryfundHard hats and steel toe-caps
Ever hankered after a hard hat? Join our tile team. We’re cleaning up, moving and selling on the undamaged tiles from our roof. There aren’t enough good ones to cover the Hall, but someone with a smaller project can benefit. The money raised is helping us to keep our costs down and we’re pleased to be  part of a recycling effort. Email info@exeterstreethall.org to find out more about a simple induction and the work involved.
Tiles

Masque Banquet

If you thought we could only stage casual events, think again.

THGI

We hosted an exquisite five-course masque banquet for over 50 people in a breathtakingly beautiful Hall on Saturday. Check us out. Yes, sir, we can do fancy pants.

Banquet-1

Take a peek at our transformed Hall. For one night only, she was bedecked in fairy lights, lanterns, eye-catching ribbons, roses and bathed in candlelight. We feasted on delicious gazpacho, antipasto (the aubergine was particularly sublime), scrumptious feta and tomato filo tarts with roasted pumpkin and salad leaves, chocolate mousse to die for and cheeses to finish. With wines and liqueurs selected and shipped from France, this was an unforgettable meal in a jaw-dropping setting.

Banquet-3

Magic doesn’t just happen. Our volunteers make it look effortless, but that doesn’t mean it is! Massive thanks to Marianne for devising and working her socks off for this utterly delightful event (and recruiting her family and friends to give outstanding assistance).

Banquet-5

BIG thanks too to our talented chef, Iain, and events supremos Catherine, Gill and Lynne for mouthwatering food and drink and impeccable organisation. We’re grateful too to our intrepid team of teens – Dan, George, Martha, Jago and Annie – who waited tables with such style.

Banquet-4

We can’t wait to do it all again. Once we can fit back into our trousers.Banquet MenuPlanning a celebration? Email manager@exeterstreethall.org and find out about availability from October.
This event was staged to raise vital funds for the Hall. We’ll be revealing the scores on the doors soon. Fancy donating? Just click here.

Weekend Double-Header

This is how we do our weekend evenings in Exeter Street Hall. Live football on Friday night. Comedy on the Saturday night. It’s evenings like these that remind us why we bought the Hall: great events that bring the community together. It was wonderful to see lots of familiar faces and even better to see some new faces too.world_cup_comedy
Many thanks to the acts on the comedy night, including The Maydays, Seb Handley, Phil Lucas, Julie Oliver, Jane Postlethwaite, and James McDonell. Thanks also to all the volunteers but especially Gus and Simon who were the driving force behind the events.

Tickets for the Uruguay game next Thursday are still available, with award winning pizza from Pizza 500. Available at Joes Cafe or via football@exeterstreethall.org. The tickets not the pizza.

Finally, a reminder that we’re raising money to unblock our drains. It’s badly needed. If you value our Hall and would like to see the back of those damp patches, please text HALL20 £5 to 70070 or pay by Just Giving here.

Update on Football Fever – various dates in June

Football Fever

Hello there!

Rats! We’ve got unexpected title clashes (there are other events on!) so we need to revise our Football Fundraiser programme – and fast! Sorry!

Here’s how the matches NOW stack up:

Friday 13 June at 8pm (doors open from 7.30pm)
Spain v Netherlands, donations only

Come to our taster night. It’s a thriller of a match. The good news? Entrance is free. We’ve got pre-match nerves and we want to make sure we’ve got our tactics right. Come along and put us through our paces. (Enough puns for you?)

We’re keeping this one simple – rock up and watch the match. There will be a bountiful bar and super snacks. We’d still love you to let us know you’re coming. Hey, no one wants to run out of beer and we also need to flag up if we nudge close to full capacity; we can only seat 80.

Email football@exeterstreethall.org to let us know how many people you’ll be bringing along. And, gracious, if you have a good time, please text HALL20 £5 to 70070 on the night.

Thursday 19 June at 8pm (doors open from 7.30pm)
Uruguay v England. £5, including fab food

Enjoy the football and grab a delicious slice of authentic Italian pizza from our super supporters at Pizza 500. One bite and you’ll be hooked. Give them a call on 01273 911933 for takeaways or delivery.

Tuesday 24 June at 5pm (doors open from 4.30pm)
Costa Rica v England. £5, including great grub

Watch the match and tuck into a delicious piece of handmade pie from the delightful people at Higgidy Pies. You might have seen these stonking pies in local delis or the chilled section of your supermarket. Check out their charming story at: www.higgidy.co.uk

There will be a bar at both events. A good chunk of tickets have already sold, so email football@exeterstreethall.org to reserve your place today.

Come along. Support the Hall. All profit will go towards repairing our dreadful drains. We need to raise £5,500; it’s an incredibly lumpy sum. But it will make a HUGE difference. We will be able to stop water seeping back under the Hall and ruining our back room so drastically that it’s permanently out of action.

See you there! We’ll be the ones singing Nessun Dorma. Quite badly.

Best wishes,

THGI Team 

We need to cancel our 5pm screening of Mexico v Cameroon this Friday. As compensation, help us with our pre-match nerves, and book your places for the 8pm thriller of Spain v Netherlands. Free entry, but do text HALL20 £5 to 70070 on the night if you have a good time!

There will be a bountiful bar, super snacks and a great atmosphere. It’s set to be a good night for grown-ups, (but if the occasional youngster squeaked in, that would be fine!)