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Village hall committee champion energy efficiency to revamp community hub

A village hall committee’s decision to bite the bullet and ditch their old steam boiler in favour of the latest heating technology is set to save vital cash for an East Yorkshire community.

Harpham and Lowthorpe Village Hall has been at the very heart of East Riding life since it was built 84 years ago.

These days, in between serving as a polling station, it hosts regular events as varied as pilates and computer classes to bingo nights, whist drives and country dances.

But after decades of service, the hall’s guardians decided it was time that the building had a major facelift and investment to continue its reputation as an inviting and comfortable space for local people to enjoy.

Following a successful application for numerous community grants, the committee received financial assistance which allowed the team to replace the old boiler with electric heaters costing £3,000.

Diane Darley said: “Our new heating system operates on timers, which can be set to the requirements of hall users on a tailored basis. This means it is extremely convenient and can be set depending on the activities we are hosting each day.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how much we save over the coming months, but we have already started to notice a difference in energy consumption and we’ve been able to invest savings directly back into the hall.

“By making this simple change we’re starting to see how prioritising energy efficiency can help save money. We’re now trying to be efficient in everything we do – even little things like ensuring all lights are turned off in empty rooms means we can continue to decrease our consumption.” The team have also fully insulated their new storage facility and have established a nightly routine ‘close down’ procedure where all lights are turned off and heating set to standby mode at the end of the day.

The village hall has used ScottishPower as its energy provider for several years and has noted the impact of helpful advice from the small business team, who also recommended considering charity registration in order to help save even more on their bottom line.

“The additional advice on how we could help the hall thrive by not having to pay VAT was extremely helpful, as the team were able to advise us on the steps required to obtain a charity registration number. It has been a long process, but we’re confident the additional savings that result from this will help us to continue to make the hall the best it can be.

“The team at ScottishPower have provided us with helpful advice in terms of how we can save money as a small organisation, and we have recently renewed our contract for another two years as a result of this service.

“We have also made use of the online account management which means we can enter readings at any time without spending a long time on the phone, and of course this means estimated bills are a thing of the past.

“For other small community organisations, I’d personally recommend taking the time to consider various options for being energy efficient and not putting all of your eggs in one basket in terms of the technology that you use and services you offer”.