A community hall in the heart of a Stoke-on-Trent neighbourhood has undergone an extensive revamp to ensure its continued use for decades to come.

The Sacred Heart Centre, situated in the grounds of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hanley, has had a complete overhaul including dozens of new windows and essential work to improve the guttering and drainage systems to stop flooding.

A new flat roof will also put an end to damp spreading along the external wall.

The refurbishment project has cost in excess of £120,000 and has been made possible thanks to a significant cash injection from lead funder Biffa Award, (Landfill Communities Fund).

Back in 2016 it became apparent the community hall was in desperate need of repair. Over the years the hall’s condition had deteriorated and it was no longer meeting all the needs of the Church family nor the wider community.

If the situation had continued the hall would have been forced to close – which would have spelt disaster for regular users including the Compassion Kitchen; Happy Days Nursery; Young@Heart Group and Stoke Staffs School of Boxing.

To stop this from happening the Church family, led by parish administrator Madelaine Lawton with support from parish priest Fr Michael Puljic, worked closely with the Diocesan Development Team to change the hall’s fortunes.

Following a consultation exercise with key parties funding applications were sent to numerous grant-making organisations.

As a result a Biffa Award of £52,768 was awarded, with further large donations from:
Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation - £5,000
Garfield Weston Foundation - £15,000
Sir Harold Hood’s Charitable Trust - £2,000
Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation - £8,000

This, together with personal donations, has helped to pay for over 60 new windows (some of the previous windows were over 100 years and many could not be opened); a new flat roof and improvements to guttering and drainage.

The main hall and function rooms have since been redecorated.

And thanks to the much-needed revamp new groups are already asking to rent the hall and enquiries are coming in to hire it for private parties.

To say ‘thank you’ hall users agreed to feature in a video, which captures the project work undertaken: