Hornby's vital village hub’s £22k roof appeal

“If you come to live in Hornby you will find yourself part of a family whether you like it or not.”

Thursday, 20th February 2020, 9:57 am
Updated Thursday, 20th February 2020, 2:46 pm

Village life is often compared to being like one big family – but in the case of Hornby it certainly seems to be true.

Everyone knows each other and everyone looks out for each other – with much of community life centred around Hornby Institute.

It’s a centre that’s constantly buzzing with life, and there’s usually someone on hand who can help out a neighbour where needed.

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Inside Hornby Institute.

A Grade 2 listed building, the institute was first built in 1915 and let at a peppercorn rent to the Village Institute Committee for a period of 99 years.

It was reopened in 2006, having been closed for two years to undergo a £1m heritage lottery funded refurbishment and extension.

The building now has full disabled access while the main hall with its sprung dance floor can cater for events with 120 seated or concerts for 150 people.

The institute also boasts a gym, licensed bar, professional kitchen, and several rooms which are available to rent.

Pat Seber and Chris Hatton outside Hornby Institute. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Hornby Institute is a vital part of the community – but is now in danger of falling into disrepair unless funds can be found to fix the leaking roof before too much damage is caused.

It’s estimated that around £22,000 is needed to repair the roof, and an appeal has now been launched to help raise the funds as quickly as possible. Other refurbishment work is also needed to parts of the original building, including the lounge where many Hornby residents meet on a daily basis to catch up with friends and neighbours over a cup of tea and a biscuit.

Hornby Institute chair Pat Seber said: “We really are at a point where we need some more money.

“We have tried for lottery bids, but it’s a struggle and we need the work done urgently.

The bar inside Hornby Institute.

“We spend all our time keeping the building running.”

It costs about £75,000 a year to keep the institute operating.

A team including a paid manager and an 11-strong management committee, along with many volunteers, help keep the building open Monday to Saturday.

“Everything happens here; we have got to keep it open because otherwise the whole village would miss out on so much,” Pat said.

The weekday coffee morning at Hornby Institute.

“We have a limited bus service in the village so it can be hard for people to get out and about from Hornby.

“The institute is a fantastic asset and we just need to keep it going.

“It’s a lovely building with so much space and potential, and we just need to secure it for future generations.”

Events at the institute range from keep fit classes to singing groups, a knitting club and a quiz night in the bar.

And for those who just want a chat over a warm drink, there’s a regular drop-in coffee morning held from Monday to Saturday between 10am and noon.

While the 1910 census showed 392 residents living in Hornby, today it is closer to 800, many of whom are retired and live alone.

And one of the most important aspects of village life for many of those in Hornby is the support given to one another.

To this end, the institute operates a helpline service six days a week which allows villagers to call and ask for help – anything from a lift to a hospital appointment to needing small jobs done around the house, if someone can be found to help out, they will do so.

The scheme offers a comfort to many of the residents in the village.

Committee member Chris Hatton said: “The village is like a family, everyone looks after each other, many people are related to each other and everyone knows each other.”

And longstanding villager Sam Ashton added: “It’s always been a caring village, and if you come to live in Hornby you will find yourself part of a family whether you like it or not; people will be looking out for you.”

Manager Jill Calvert said the institute is a vital hub at the heart of the community.

“It’s a great place to bring people together,” she said. “We all look after each other.

“It means everything to the village, because you get to meet people and get to know what’s going on in the village.

“A lot of people are on their own so it’s somewhere to come and meet people.”

Jill said the addition of a pub quiz night to replace the one lost when the village pubs closed has proved particularly popular.

“People missed it, and it’s nice for them to come and have a drink.

“A lot of people here live on their own, so we help to keep an eye on them.”

A large wedding fair and pre-loved event is being held on Saturday February 29 to kickstart the fundraising in earnest.

Hornby’s Flower Bank florists will be decorating and helping with the organisation of the fair, and local raffle prizes are also up for grabs including a top prize of use of the institute for an event up to £600, a night at Hornby Castle, and 10 per cent off wedding flowers from Flower Bank.

The event is open from 11am until 3pm and is free entry with refreshments available.

Highlights include industry wedding specialists, pre-loved clothing and accessories, raffle and complimentary gift bag.

Other upcoming events include a Hornby Singers concert at 7.30pm on February 22 (donations welcomed) and a visit by some members of the Haffner Orchestra on March 1, which is free, followed by afternoon tea, which can be booked for £8.

For more information about any of the events, contact the institute on 015242 22227.