Happy New Year and welcome to our first news bulletin since we took possession of the George back in October. Please forgive the lack of communication – it’s been a hectic couple of months!
Building work update
The good news is that tenders for the building work are in – and the cost is well within our budget. Our chosen contractors, Fieldhouse Builders, will start in March, and to save money, as much as possible of the ‘prep’ work beforehand will be done by volunteers. Meanwhile we’ll be pressing ahead with the set-up of our three main revenue-earning activities, the café, bakery and business hub. The aim is to be fully operational by the time building work is complete, hopefully in late spring/summer of next year.
Faced with the challenges ahead, we’ve been making some important changes to the way we work as a group, including taking on a temporary project manager (below), and setting up sub-groups to take charge of different parts of the project.
Many supporters have offered us their services free of charge and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank them. Emma Parsons works locally as a consultant on environmental issues and has given us lots of valuable advice on how to reduce our carbon footprint. Local interior designer Dee Roberts has been doing great work with engineer Kev Wheeler on the design and layout of the café. Thanks are also due to Mike Penny, our architect, for taking on the job of planning and overseeing the building work.
Back in October, we decided to look for a paid project manager to help set up the café, bakery and business hub, and were lucky to find just the man for the job. Tony Pownall is well known in the village as a former landlord of the Railway Inn. Having worked in industry, Tony has management experience as well as practical know-how and great local contacts. Technically, his contract only runs for three months, but he has already put in many extra hours unpaid. His hard work is much appreciated.
The Big Clear-up
With the help of our volunteers, heaps of unwanted clutter have now been removed from the building and huge progress has been made in clearing out the cellar, top floor office and courtyard. There’s lots still to do, but we’re greatly cheered by what we’ve achieved so far.
Volunteers are now helping with a range of tasks from sanding down tables and chairs to hacking off flakey plaster. Fifty have already signed up to help and more are joining all the time. If you’d like to come and lend a hand, please contact Siobhan on 516287 or Paul on 516259.
Having notched up a spectacular success with last November’s concert, we’ll be holding another big local event at the church on Saturday 28 January. This time it’s a ‘Murder Mystery’ set in an imaginary boarding school in the Scottish Highlands as staff and students prepare for the annual Burns Night festivities. With a cast of shady characters and plenty of help from Newnham Players, it should be a lot of fun – so dig out your tartan and put the 28 January in your diary now!