The St Paulinus Centre in Edenbridge has been providing services to the local community for many years, and currently hosts the St Paulinus Pre-School, the Cora Art Theatre dance school and pilates sessions. Many other groups have enjoyed the facility in the past along with quiz nights and fund-raising activities. It has been a venue for pre-school children for about 40 years.
It is on a site in Marlpit Hill that in the Edwardian period was originally home to a parish church that was later replaced by the current building, and indeed church services were held there up to about 20 years ago. The site and buildings in Hillcrest Road are owned by the Diocese of Rochester and operate under the auspices of the Parochial Church Committee (PCC) of Parish Church of Ss Peter & Paul, Edenbridge.
The St Paulinus Centre, as it is known now, is managed by a voluntary sub-committee of the PCC, with annual turnover of about £10,000. It is the only community facility in the north end of Edenbridge, which once had its own shops and a post office.
The Centre strives to provide an affordable venue within that modest remit, and has a proud reputation within the town for being a safe venue for activities involving youngsters and families.
Maintenance and upkeep have been the priority, particularly in making the building sustainable with energy cost control, but without trying to match the larger similar venues within Edenbridge.
It was clear a couple of years ago that the condition of the hall’s floor, vital to the dance school, was deteriorating due to wet rot and that temporary corrective action couldn’t continue indefinitely. It was decided by the committee in 2022 that the only way forward to secure the future of the hall was to completely replace the floor structure.
A quantity survey concluded that the cost would be approaching £40,000. Fortunately, the hall’s finances showed that reserves meeting half of this could be used. Funding applications to a number of organisations were made and by April of this year almost all of the necessary finance had been either provided or promised.
The supporting organisations are the Gatwick Airport Community Trust, the Platinum Village Halls fund (also known as ACRE), the Great Stone Bridge Trust, Edenbridge Town Council and The Edenbridge Bonfire Society.
With the funding in place, the PCC gave the go-ahead for the floor replacement project to start during the 2023 summer holidays. St Pierre Contractors, a local company, were used after a diligent selection process, with the work being completed on target before the end of August, in time for the autumn school term. The dance school had been involved in the design of the floor surface to their satisfaction.
Thanks must go to Bill Cummings, who carried out the quantity survey free of charge, and for the support of St Paulinus committee members Vince Maynard (who helped Stuart Parrish), Kim Maynard, PCC treasurer Graham Shewell and PCC rep Richard Dyson. Thanks also to the PCC for making it all possible.
For more information, contact John Nutting, Chair, St Paulinus management committee, at 01732 868071 or at email@example.com