The Community Hall, a former Methodist Chapel dating back to 1828, is now owned by the Church Broughton Parish Council, after being purchased from the Methodist Circuit at auction for £140,000 in July 2022.
The project to acquire the Methodist Chapel began with the Church Broughton Community Led Plan team working with the Parish Council and the South Derbyshire District Council to designate the building as an Asset of Community Value, which occurred in 2018. After worship ceased in 2019, consultations were carried out to assess the level of support in the community for the Parish Council to acquire the building, which would include a Council tax increase for the repayment of a Public Works Loan. The results showed strong support within the community with 90% in favour, and a good voting return at 43%.
The funding sources for the acquisition included approximately £30,000 of pre-existing Parish Council cash reserves, a £25,000 Community grant from the South Derbyshire District Council, a £65,000 Public Works Loan (PWL), and forty-plus donations from individuals and local businesses totalling approximately £44,000. The PWL is a sixteen-year loan from the UK Government Debt Management Office on behalf of the Treasury, at a fixed interest rate of 2.8%, which is remarkably low, especially given borrowing rates at the time of writing. The loan repayments are approximately £5,000 per year, and these are being covered through an increase in the Council Tax precept equating to less than £25 per year for a band D household.
Since the purchase of the building, the Parish Council has reviewed its current and forecast financial position and the basis on which fund raising was carried out. This has allowed cash reserves of £24,000 to be set aside towards refurbishing and upgrading the building over the coming years. Additional fundraising activities and other grant funding will be necessary to increase these reserves so that a reasonable standard of upgrade is achievable.
The Parish Council has also established a Community Hall Management Committee with detailed terms of reference, to oversee the day-to-day operation of the building on its behalf. A separate working group will consider options for longer term upgrade, structural improvements and refurbishment.
The Hub (community shop) is a significant user of the building and is currently contributing £200 per month towards operational running costs in return for occupying space in the former chapel.
The Parish Council would like to thank everyone involved for a remarkable community effort in acquiring the building for use as a Community Hall.