The Church Hall at Shiplake is getting a makeover and new management by a group of volunteers from the church and a newly formed group, ‘Community Spirit Henley-on-Thames’.
Last weekend volunteers started on the makeover by painting the inside and outside of the building. The Community Spirit group was formed after a group of volunteers ran a Christmas Day lunch for those on their own at Shiplake Memorial Hall.
The vision for the renovated building is to create a not-for-profit community cafe, a venue for community group meetings, activities and events for members of the community, from the young to the elderly. The group particularly want to bring together people who are at risk of isolation or disadvantaged and provide volunteering and work experience opportunities too. The building is owned by Shiplake Parish Church Council and the group plan to run out-reach activities that are not explicitly Christian but in line with the values and belief held by the church.
Louise Colam from Community Spirit who lives in Henley said, “Over the last few years the hall has been left a bit deserted but the building itself is sound and we want to create a welcoming community centre which can be used for all different types of events including music, film nights etc. and a cafe which can be used by both locals as well as a great stop off for walkers and cyclists. We have received some great help and ideas already from Henley interior designer, Niki Schafer for the inside and local Shiplake landscape designer, Ana Mari Bull is going to help us with a design to create an enclosed garden which will be great for the mother and toddler group who already meet here.”
Gibbs and Dandy in Henley have kindly donated the paint and are hoping to help with further supplies. Costain in Maidenhead have also helped with a donation for the Christmas Day lunch and its hoped that they will make further donations towards this new venture. Louise added, “We’d like to work with other charities and the community to up-cycle furniture and make the place exciting and vibrant.”
Community Spirit’s next free event is a Palm Sunday lunch (Sunday 9 April) which will be after the Church Service. Free transport is available too. To book a place call 07961 694399.
To join the group go to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CommunitySpiritHoT/