Our village hall, situated just north of Chester, has been around since it was formally opened by Viscount Leverhulme in 1950. Built on donated land and located centrally within our five villages of Mollington, Lea-by-Backford, Backford, Chorlton and Caughall it is the social hub for the local community and beyond.
At the time of the building opening, given the materials available in that post-war period, the useful life of the hall was estimated to be 15 years. Dedicated committees and many volunteers since then have kept it functioning adding rooms from time to time to meet increasing and diverse demand. It continues to thrive thanks to the continual support of the community, volunteers and users both in and outside our villages.
The hall is located just off the A41 at Backford Cross on Station Road – CH1 6NT.
Hire the Hall -
You can hire our Village Hall for just about anything from weddings, sports activities, learning groups, band practise, discrete business meetings, theatre groups, family get-togethers, concerts and so on. See here for rates or click here to email the booking secretary for help or a viewing.
The main hall (with a stage) can accommodate up to 100 people. The committee room can accommodate x people whilst the Garden Room seats up to y. Our kitchen is fitted with a gas and electric range cooker, standard electric oven, fridge and freezer, microwave as well as crockery & cutlery. The bar room separates the kitchen from the Garden Room. See hall layout here. There is ample parking outside.
Our Big Project
Time for Change
After over sixty five years of continual use by the community – and maintenance - our old hall is showing its age which led the committee in late 2016 to embark on a project programme to replace it with a new community hub. This project has the working title of “The Five Villages Meeting Hub”.
A small Project Team was set up to steer the programme on behalf of the committee and community. It first convened in October 2016 and has done (almost) weekly since.
Despite a few funding application disappointments in the past, the team concluded that it would need to apply to the then Big Lottery Fund (Community Buildings Fund) for major financial support. The concept was that with BLF funding support, we could use this support to lever funding support from other funders. Initial meetings with the Lottery helped us understand their process to ensure funding and thus project success.
The community – both villager users and hall hirers - were asked for their views on a new building; what they wanted to do in it, what it should offer, which new activities were wished for, people’s views on the community and current facilities. The replies to the questionnaires helped steer the project to a basic building design, an understanding of the need for the project and ultimately the project drivers and proposed outcomes.
After a three-stage application process the BLF granted us funding of £492k. Other main funders include Sport England, The Ursula Keyes Trust, Garfield Weston, The Williams Family Foundation, Viridor Credits, LEADER, Cheshire Community Foundation, The King’s Fund, The Leverhulme Trust, Allchurches Trust. Many local private, generous donations have been made to the building fund whilst the hall social committee and hall class providers & users have staged many fundraising events to help the fund along. Our three local parish councils and local residents are also supporting the project via their precepts.
Where Are We Now?
Plans are drawn up and were put to tender in Summer 2019. Despite best practise our collected funds did not match the tendered building contractor figures. A number of then unknowns came to light which added cost to the build. Working closely with our professional team and after several value engineering exercises we have managed to reduce building costs. The so-called ‘external works’ are now being addressed to reduce costs further.
Simultaneously to this cost reduction exercise we continue to try to raise further funds where we can. We have the option to apply to The National Lottery Community Fund (its new name) for top-up funds to help the project succeed.
We are re-drawing design plans which will be then re-costed by our preferred contractor to produce an accurate figure which represents the results of the value engineering exercises and the removal of currently non-essential items.
This application will be prepared and made by the local lottery team on our behalf. The application will be heard and adjudicated by a so-called England Committee in January 2020.
In the meantime we continue to look for local help – companies and individuals who can provide a service or expertise relevant to our project which will have the effect of spreading our funding to go that bit further. If you can help, please get in touch here.
Go to ‘About the Hall’ > project updates for the more information and latest news.
Upcoming Events (for full details see Upcoming Events)
Help us to raise more funds while you shop online. Also, you can donate directly and get tax relief on your donation. Go to easyfundraising page here
If you would like to get regular notifications of future events and news about the hall, you can sign up to our mailing list using this online form.
We will provide links to external events run by other local organising bodies which will provide assistance to our residents.