Latest News – updated 11th September 2019
SUCCESS FOR FORCH’S NEW PROJECT
at the Bury Council’s PITCH event
On 7th September 2019, FORCH was awarded £1500 for new sound equipment. It will transform Ramsbottom Civic Hall’s elderly sound system, which is prone to breaking up or even cutting out altogether. The grant will provide new speakers and fixings and cover installation costs.
We know there is the demand for this improvement because we’ve counted 14 groups of all ages who need the Hall’s sound system every single week. Music plays an essential part in the increasing number of regular dance and fitness classes at the Hall and group leaders use a microphone to reach their members in the large space, so they need to be confident that it works properly. Reliable, good quality sound reproduction is also vital at meetings and private family functions such as weddings and parties.
When we were invited to present our project at the PITCH event (think Dragons’ Den!) we contacted as many people as possible to ask them to vote for us, either online or on the day.
Many thanks to everybody who managed to support us.
We all realise how lucky we are to have such a fantastic public venue. Improvements to Hall facilities really do make a difference to its viability. Offering an excellent PA system helps to make sure that the “customer experience” is perfect.
FORCH’S DEFIBRILLATOR PROJECT 2019
Ramsbottom Civic Hall is now a safer place thanks to the donation of a defibrillator by Mersey Medical Services Ltd. whose registered office is in Bury. The device was presented to the Friends of Ramsbottom Civic Hall (FORCH) by Phillip Warren, the company’s finance and sales director. (He is a member of the Friends group and had learned of FORCH’s earlier promise to provide a defibrillator.) It has now been handed over to Civic Hall managers and Bury Council has taken on the responsibility for its installation and maintenance.
The defibrillator is designed to be simple to use for the lay person by means of simple audio and visual commands. Ideally, however, users should have received training so one of Mersey Medical Services instructors has offered to do a training session and a course has already been arranged.
Recently, as well as popular dance sessions and the Hall’s tea dances, there has been an increase in the number of fitness classes at the Civic Hall, including ones for the over 50s. At large scale public events there can be over 200 people inside the building. Previously, the defibrillator for use at the venue was the one on Bolton Street. It is only a short distance away but access from the Hall is down a steep setted roadway, through Ramsbottom Market Place and across traffic lights at a busy junction. It had been highlighted that the Bolton Street defibrillator, if required at the Hall, could not be reached quickly enough for it to be of use.
The Friends of Ramsbottom Civic Hall have for years been concerned about potential challenges to the local community, and especially the Civic Hall, presented by its Ramsbottom Market Place neighbour, the Grant Arms.
It is currently closed and its future seems uncertain. How will any new owners deal with the continuing local problems?
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Property belonging to the present owner of the Grant Arms includes:
• A large part of the car park to the rear of the pub (It has various problems which are not being addressed.)
• All the setted roadways around Ramsbottom Market Place continuing up past the Civic Hall and into the car park. (They are in a deteriorating condition and are becoming danger to users.)
• The old bowling green, which continues to deteriorate from lack of use and maintenance. The Grant Arms premises and its surroundings are badly in need of a future plan. The people of Ramsbottom and the users of the Civic Hall deserve to be consulted and involved in the development of these.
The Civic Hall’s sign was in poor condition. Recently, there have
been community initiatives to repair other Market Place
features so FORCH agreed to contribute to the cost of a
replacement Civic Hall sign. A successful application was
made for a grant to help us to do so. The new sign is now in place
The gardens at the rear of the Civic Hall have been an outstanding example of the co-operation between the Council, FORCH and the users of the Hall. The gardens regularly attract interest and prove a good location for photographs when celebrations are taking place at the hall.
We are pleased to report that some 20 weddings are scheduled for 2018, events which are good for the long-term future of the hall and will bring many people into contact with the excellent facilities now available. Funding has now been allocated by the Council to act as a stimulus for maintenance and
improvements. FORCH have been invited to lead the process and it is intended that the Alpine Garden Society, who planned and helped to create the garden originally, will play a further part in this development. The work will we hope create much interest in the early part of 2018.
The transformation of Ramsbottom Civic Hall’s garden and courtyard, hidden around the back of the building, is a wonderful achievement. The official opening by the Mayor of Bury, Councillor Stella Smith took place on 13th May 2016. The “secret” is out and the Hall’s attractive outdoor space will now provide pleasure for many more people.
Local groups, including the Alpine Garden Society, the Hawkshaw and District Flower Club, Speakeasy (a charity offering therapeutic activity to people with aphasia), the Friends of Ramsbottom Civic Hall and also many individuals, have worked with Bury Council on the garden project and were represented at the opening event. Many of the other guests had a very pleasant surprise as they viewed for the first time the light, bright courtyard with its backdrop of well-chosen shrubs and plants. Back in the Hall’s Holcombe Room an excellent afternoon tea was being served. The catering was by Bury Venues and entertainment was kindly provided by Bury Music Service.
The five-year project to redevelop a derelict area into a fantastic extra Hall facility is already proving worthwhile in terms of interest from potential Hall users planning events such as family celebrations. We are very grateful to all those involved for their hard work and commitment.
We also take this opportunity to thank everyone, gardeners and non-gardeners alike, for their good wishes and for supporting the Civic Hall over recent years.