Fotheringham Homes has given back to our community by building and financing a new annexe onto Johnshaven Village Hall as part of a refurbishment project to the hall’s entranceway.
Built over the summer, the brand new, modern and well-insulated annexe features accessible toilets as well as an upstairs multipurpose room. The new upstairs room has been designed to complement the existing hall and connects to the main hall through a hatch, allowing it to be used as a stage control room.
Plagued by dampness in recent years, the old toilet block was housed in a Victorian cottage that had been fitted out in the 1970s and linked to the main hall through a foyer. It was in desperate need of improvement as the toilets could only be reached by stairs, making it impossible for wheelchair users and those with mobility issues to access.
In 2018, the Johnshaven Village Hall committee had consulted with the local community on a proposal to improve and extend the facilities and had designs for the new annexe drawn up pro-bono by local architect firm, Inspired Design & Development Ltd. Despite securing planning permission and that the new annexe would feature a flexible area upstairs that would provide new possibilities for the local community, the committee’s initial attempts at raising funds for the build were unsuccessful.
Luckily for the village hall committee, when Fotheringham Homes was given the go ahead to build The Beaches, our development of 71 new build homes in Johnshaven, we were on the lookout for a local community project to support as part of our planning obligation. The hall committee put in a proposal under Developer Obligations, supported by us, and were elated when it was accepted by Aberdeenshire Council.
“We were thrilled to be able to build and finance the new annexe for Johnshaven Village Hall,” said Michael Fotheringham, Director of Fotheringham Homes. “There can be a lot of complexity when managing construction projects like these so we were more than happy to do our part for the community and lend our expertise in order to create this amazing space that the whole village and local area can benefit from.”
In expressing the committee’s gratitude, Karelia Wright, Chair of Johnshaven Hall Committee, shared, “We’d like to thank Michael and all his team at Fotheringham Homes for their willingness to listen and to work with us on this venture.
“In the care and generosity they have shown and the professionalism and skill they have brought to this project, they have gone over and above what might have been expected. The fantastic, new annexe which they have built and fitted out to such a high standard provides a legacy that will be appreciated for many years to come by those who use our hall.”
Like many old buildings, Johnshaven Village Hall has an interesting past. Built back in 1879 at a cost of £300, it started on a sober note as a Good Templars’ Hall. As the temperance movement went into decline in Scotland, the hall was taken into private ownership and it fulfilled the role of potato store before being purchased for the village in 1957.
Since then, the hall has been the social heart of Johnshaven and its walls have witnessed many great events from tea dances and ceilidhs to band nights, pantomimes and live theatre. The hall is a central hub to a range of village clubs and groups such as Guides, Bowling, Bridge and the Catch Up Café along with art workshops and courses run by local artist Rebecca Westguard.
The hall is also used as a venue for parties, weddings and charity events and the committee has plans to raise funds for stage lighting, a sound system and a film projector in order to improve the range of events that can be offered.
The committee hopes that the new upstairs multipurpose room will also help increase income, thereby helping to keep hall hire costs as low as possible for local residents whilst maintaining and improving this valuable community resource.
Cutting the ribbon. Village Hall Annexe Open Day – September 2023