With huge thanks to those who came with money to spend, and to all those volunteers who made things happen, we raised approximately £5000 from a variety of fund raising events in 2012, the 40th year of the Telegraph Hill Centre. And we had plans…
But as 2012 drew to a close we received the news that sections of the cladding on the Centre might be coming away from the main frame of the building. This news shook us up.
The situation is under control but cannot be left indefinitely either. A fix is in place holding steady the two panels in question to prevent them from immediately threatening to come away from the building. We would not want anyone injured as a result of a heavy concrete panel crashing down in the path, just as we need to prevent further damage to the building.
But this solution is obviously only temporary, and limited. The Telegraph Hill Centre Management Group (THCMG) is in the processing of tendering for a full structural survey to be carried out which will outline the options available to us. What is certain is that we will need to have work carried out to ensure the building remains safe for everyone who uses it. The cost of this is so far unknown… How long is a piece of string?
We heard loud and clear last year that people wanted the Centre to look more welcoming. We can, and will, make some changes to windows with decent curtains and blinds. These will help with warmth and privacy. We’ve also been told (and we’ve seen it for ourselves anyway) that the Centre needs a lick of paint. However, while we would welcome volunteers to help us repaint the Narthex, Lounge and entrance areas in due course, we feel strongly this should be part of a focused plan of action. Now is not the time to expend potentially wasted effort on areas which may need further structural work.
The THCMG is up-dating its business plan to address the many competing priorities being placed on the funds we have available. Identifying (and if necessary dealing with) structural issues around the building takes priority. After all if there is no building, there is no Centre . . . with all the knock-on effects that loss would have for the Festival and the numerous other activities and enterprises involved in this community hub.
As well as any necessary structural work identified by the survey, there are other important changes, for example double glazing to reduce environmental impact, retain heat and lower costs, and upgrading the electrical, heating and plumbing systems. These might not be headline grabbing but they will make a difference. We will fit in cosmetic considerations where we can, so stand by to be called upon to wield a paint-brush!
We have to do all this while keeping the Centre open, safe and usable every day. It is no easy task. But please bear with us and we will keep you updated with the news of the survey and what it means for the Centre’s spending priorities in the coming months.