Hough End Hall – Tell RBS the community needs it!

RBS logo via http://www.rbs.co.uk/corporate.ashxWe are now at a critical point in the campaign to make Hough End Hall ours. As you may know the Hall is currently owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), through its troubled subsidiary ‘West Register. While the Hall has been vacant for some two years, there is now pressure from the Treasury for RBS to get rid of its property portfolio (part of its “de-leveraging”). That means that when the moratorium on its sale ends on 25 November, they will want to sell the Hall as soon as possible.

Our problem is that our best chance of raising the money to buy the Hall is through a big grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. But although our meetings with them have been encouraging, it will take longer than this until they could agree the money. This is because of the considerable amount of work needed to demonstrate that our plans to run the Hall are water-tight, and the set dates that they work to for considering proposals and finally agreeing funding (in December, 2015).

We have spoken to the manager at West Register, who although sympathetic, has clear instructions from above to make a sale as soon as possible. What we need to do is get as many people as possible to make the case for giving us more time. Because RBS is owned by you and me – the State is the majority (81%) shareholder – this is a realistic thing to ask for and to expect, and the positive publicity would help RBS in restoring its reputation. Indeed, they could even give the building to the community, but we don’t expect that.

What you can do:

1) Sign our petition to Ross McEwan (Chief Executive of RBS), George Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer, and MP for nearby Tatton) and Vince Cable (Business Secretary).
It is will take you a few moments via this link.

2) Write to your MP (using this model MP letter: but please personalise it)  asking them to give their support to our request to give us more time and identify us as the preferred buyer. Put in your postcode after you click this link and you can email your MP directly (but again please don’t just send an unchanged model letter – Write to them will block it if you do).

3) Share this with your family, friends and colleagues – by word of mouth (best), email, facebook and twitter. You can also share the petition in this way.

Thanks for you help, it really will help us Make it Ours!

Also look out for our Crowdfunding appeal – coming very soon.

More local press coverage for the campaign

In case you haven’t seen it yet, here is the latest coverage of the campaign in the South Manchester Advertiser.  It focuses on the history project about the hall and also gives some basic information about what we are doing.

Thanks again to Helen Johnson for the coverage.

Advertiser 23rd July 2014

Our new video about Hough End Hall and the campaign

Hough End Hall, Chorlton-cum-Hardy – Let’s make it ours!

This video gives you a general explanation of this project to bring Hough End Hall under comunity ownership and management as a resource for the people of Chorlton and South Manchester.  To donate to the project click this link. Our crowdfunding call will follow soon.

Published on 10 Jul 2014

The Friends of Hough End Hall, Chorlton-cum-Hardy are seeking to raise money to the tune of about £300,000 so that they can buy the Grade 2* listed Hough End Hall for the use of the South Manchester community.
In the film, Peter Topping, Carolyn Kagan and Andrew Simpson all talk about the hall, what it has been in the past and what it is hoped it will become in the future, as a place to meet, a place to eat, for art and education and as a social and recreational centre.
Friends of Hough End Hall is a not for profit company registration no 9096872.
Paintings and music by Peter Topping.
Film sponsored by Hardy Productions UK, filmed and presented in 4K (3840×2160 pixels).

To donate to the project click this link. Our crowdfunding call will follow soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Hough End Hall in Beech Rd Park – Sunday

Here’s a cheeky preview (thanks Peter):

Hough End Hall placed in the park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… if a little small (maybe we’ll get a reduction on the price?), it does give an indication of how the Hall deserves better surroundings than the brutalist office blocks of the 1960s.
Anyway come on down on Sunday to the Beech Rd and Chorlton Green Fmly Fun Day, this Sunday (6th July, 2014) from 12-5 and find out more about where we are up to and how you can help.

We’ve received our first grant

Here is an exciting news update about our work to make Hough End Hall ours.

We’ve been awarded a grant for £10,000 from the Community Assets and Services Grant Programme.image of money

The grant is to strengthen the organisation so we are in a position to apply for more funds such as the Heritage Lottery Fund (for the money to buy Hough End Hall and to cover the running costs for an initial period). It means we can,

  • Incorporate Friends of Hough End Hall as a Charitable Limited Company.
    We have done the first part of this and are now working on the application for charitable status. The work on incorporation also means doing an “organisational health check” and working through issues on assets and governance. As well as strengthening our grant application this will get us into the right shape as a community organisation capable of taking over the community asset.

  • Pay for a condition survey of the building.
    We have conducted a selection exercise and appointed Adrian Pearson, a conservation architect, from LLOYD EVANS PRICHARD LTD to do this. Can Do Communities will also work with us on this.

  • To do the necessary business planning.
    This will include a financial plan, a vital part of our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the money to buy the Hall and to run it for the initial period while we build up its capacity to be self-sustaining. Lloyd Evans Prichard, who are very experienced in Heritage Lottery Applications, will also be helping with some aspects of this. Adrian has kindly arranged to contribute some of his time as a donation.

We will also need to raise a considerable sum of money from the community to contribute to the needed funds, and we are working on a crowdfunding call to do this. More on this soon!

We are also grateful for support from HLF Berry (Robin Burman has kindly contributed some of his time as a donation) and Can Do Communities for advice on the complicated issues in getting formally incorporated, applying for grants and getting the Hall listed as a community asset by the city council. Thanks to everyone else who has helped us in any way up to now: we are at an exciting stage, having progressed from the stage of having a great idea to getting stuck into the hard work of bringing it about.

What is the Community Assets and Awards Programme?

The Community Assets and Services Grant Programme is an integral part of the Community Rights Support Programme. The grants are delivered on behalf of the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), by the Social Investment Business (SIB Group) and ACEVO. SIB manages the grant funds. Locality and ACEVO deliver the advice and support element of the programme which will run for three years. More information at http://mycommunityrights.org.uk and http://www.sibgroup.org.uk/communityrights/

Did you see the article about us in the South Manchester Advertiser?

As you might have seen, we made the front page of the South Manchester Advertiser of June 11th.  The photograph includes a number of our supporters, including some local councillors.  Apologies to those who weren’t included in the photos chosen to illustrate the article.  Thanks to everyone for their continuing support!

The Advertiser Front Page

The Advertiser Front Page

The article, featuring Peter Topping and Carolyn Kagan cheekily "unlocking" the Hall.

The article, featuring Peter Topping and Carolyn Kagan cheekily “unlocking” the Hall.

You can also see the brief report of our community consultation, HERE.

We got listed!

We are thrilled to hear that the Council has made the decision to place Hough End Hall on the Register of Assets of Community Value. So, once the owners, (West Register, part of RBS) tell the council they are wanting to dispose of the land, and we confirm we want to bid, we should get 6 months during which they cannot conclude a sale to anyone else. The legislation lets them continue negotiating with someone else but not conclude a sale.

We will need to make sure we make a good bid!

Thanks to all who supported the nomination, especially Chorlton Civic Society.

 

Come on down to the Big Green Happening

We will have a stand at Chorlton’s Big Green Happening today, Sat 27th April, St Clements Chrurch from 1-5. Come and visit stand 65 (outside) and hear the latest news and how close we are to making the Hall ours! The more friends and family you can bring to sign up the better, otherwise, just come along and say hello.