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The project to build Bruisyard Village Hall

Construction of the village hall by Simmons Builders Ltd started on 18 March 2009 and was completed in January 2010. The architect was Robert Smith of CBM Smith & Partners who lives in Bruisyard.

Until the Village Hall was completed in January 2010, Bruisyard did not have a shop, pub or any other community building other than the small vestry attached to St. Peters' Church. The vestry had only very limited space and no facilities apart from electric lighting and was suitable for holding only small meetings. The Parish Plan  completed in 2005 identified strong support for building a community centre for the village on the Parish Park. The Parish Park is in the centre of the village and was purchased by the Parish Council in 1995. This land was previously a waste storage area for old trucks and machinery and had been transformed over recent years into an attractive park which is widely used by residents and visitors.


In response to the Parish Plan, the Parish Council formed a Village Hall Committee with the objective of providing a community centre for the village which meets the current and future needs of the residents and potential user groups, is financially and economically sustainable, and has minimal environmental impact. The aim of the Village Hall is to support and foster a broad range of activities to enhance the quality of life for everyone living in the community, covering all age groups, stimulating greater social interaction and community involvement, and actively supporting social inclusion.


A photographic record was made of the build from the start in March 2009 to it's completion in January 2010;



How the funding was raised


To seek funding for the project, the Committee submitted a Stage 1 application form to the Big Lottery Fund/Community Buildings Programme in August 2006. In February 2007, the Committee received the fantastic news that our application had been successful and that we were invited to submit a Stage 2 application. We were also awarded a development grant to cover the costs of the necessary ground surveys, professional fees and local authority planning/building control fees. Planning permission was granted by Suffolk Coastal District Council on 13 November 2007 and the Stage 2 application to the Big Lottery Fund/Community Buildings Programme was submitted on 15 November 2007. On 31 March 2008, the Big Lottery Fund announced the award of £187,218 to Bruisyard Parish Council to build the village hall. The Parish Council had also allocated £300 towards the build costs and BSAC (Bruisyard Social Amenities Committee) had awarded £1000 which had been raised from events held in the village. The Alde Community Council also awarded a grant of £250.


On 24 July 2008, the Parish Council received the excellent news that Suffolk County Council had awarded the project £20,000 from the Corporate Regeneration Fund and on 15 August, Suffolk Coastal District Council granted an award of £10,000 from the Capital Grant Aid scheme.


Tender responses were received from the potential contractors on 20 October 2008 which showed that further fund raising would be needed before the building work could begin.


In December 2008, ScottishPower Green Energy Trust awarded a grant of £9825 towards the cost of the Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) and solar panel installation. Our hope is that the village hall will become a reference site for these innovative heating technologies which will become increasingly important, particularly in rural areas which have no access to a mains gas supply.


In February 2009, the Suffolk Environmental Trust awarded a grant of £27,325 to cover the cost of the electrical installation and to move the overhead power cables which cross the site where the hall was to be built. Also in February 2009, the Garfield Weston Foundation awarded a grant of £5000 which was used towards the cost of floor and wall tiling.


The funding having been secured, the main contractors, Simmons Builders Limited, started work on site on 18 March 2009 and the hall and car park was completed in January 2010.


We are very grateful to the Big Lottery Fund, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Coastal District Council, ScottishPower Green Energy Trust, Suffolk Environmental Trust, The Garfield Weston Foundation, BSAC and the Alde Community Council for all their help and support in this project. In 2010, additional grants were awarded from The Adnams Charity to cover the cost of installing a fence and gate in the car park, and from R.A.O.B. Kenneth Walker Lodge.

The Iron Room

Many years ago, Bruisyard did have a successful village hall which was known as the 'Iron Room'. This was a Victorian corrugated-iron Sunday School building. The building has to be demolished in the late 1960's as it was structurally unsafe and even the basic repair costs were prohibitive. Despite this building having no electricity or running water, it was greatly loved and much used by the community. Even 50 years on, it is fondly remembered as the social hub of the community where many couples met and several had their wedding receptions - the dances held at the 'Iron Room' are still mentioned today by many of the elderly residents in the area. The cost of building a new village hall and the lack of a suitable site had been a hugh barrier for the community in recreating the 'Iron Room'. The purchase by the Parish Council of the land which is now the Parish Park provided an ideal location for the village hall. Our aim is that the new village will recreate the community spirit and social interaction lost over 50 years ago.

Stained glass window and plaster relief panels


The Open Weekend held in July 2010 was the first public opportunity to see the stained glass window made by Bruisyard artist, Sharon McMullin. The window, which is on the west elevation of the hall, is a wonderful depiction of the local countryside and wildlife. We are extremely grateful to Sharon for donating this amazing work of art to the Village Hall which will be greatly admired by present and future generations.


The Weekend was also the first opportunity to see the nine plaster relief panels made by Bruisyard artist, Anne Smith. The panels are in the main hall and show past and present scenes in Bruisyard with the centre panel being the record for Bruisyard (Buresiart) in the Domesday Book. Anne has very generously donated the panels to the Village Hall for which we are very grateful. The panels are very interesting works of art in their own right but will also be a permanent record of Bruisyard for the future.




To download the press articles published on the village hall;

  • Interview on BBC Radio Suffolk - April 2008.

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