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Refurbishment Community Survey Findings

Thank you to all who took the time to complete the survey. 126 surveys were completed online and a further 4 hard copies were received by the end of February 2024 deadline, providing a total of 130 unique respondents. 38 individuals took the time to provide additional comments.

Key Findings

Accessibility was most important. When comparing across the headline areas of focus (accessibility, features, safety/security, the environment and technical services), the survey responses highlighted that overall accessibility is deemed the most important – with the highest number of ‘essential’ responses from respondents. 

A more detailed analysis of responses with a focus upon the items that can be controlled (i.e. excluding location in Dursley and availability of car parking), highlighted that accessible toilet facilities and step-free access were regarded as most essential. In recent years new toilets have been installed at the front of the Chantry Centre, but it is recognised that the hall toilets require refurbishment.

Plans are currently with Stroud District Council for approval for the installation of an access lift for the stage door area, with the aim of providing additional step-free access to the Garden Room, hall toilets, and Lister Hall. Various funding applications have also been made (the total cost is expected to be just under £100,000), with the hope that work can commence in Autumn 2024.

The Lister Hall and stage are critical features. The 300 person Lister Hall and the stage were recorded as the most essential features at the Chantry Centre – which is not surprising because these differentiate the Chantry Centre from other facilities in the local area.

More generally most respondents were interested in “performance” activities at the Chantry Centre, and most respondents were interested in activities involving 60 or more people. In this context it is little surprise that the Lister Hall and stage scored so highly.

The trustees are keen to increase the use of the Chantry Centre for larger scale performances, and to improve the Chantry Centre’s offering it has been decided to invest in some new stage lighting and upgrade the microphone/sound system.

The Skittle Alley had a low importance score. Only 3% of respondents were involved in skittles, and as a result the skittle alley scored poorly. The response rate is perhaps surprising as it is estimated that there are well over 150 regular users of the skittle alley – across the Listers League, Berkeley League and U3A Skittles and Kurling groups.

Wifi is very important to respondents. The trustees are aware that the existing wifi at the Chantry Centre is inadequate. Recent discussions with BT appeared to offer a solution, but BT have just advised that they cannot deliver the promised service. Until fibre is installed in Long Street, the trustees are going to have to consider the installation of costly satellite/5G system to boost the existing Wi-Fi system.

Chantry Centre as a multi-use facility is fine – but like there to be staff on site.  The Chantry Centre is different from smaller facilities (e.g. village halls) in that (a) there are often several different activities on site at the same time and (b) there is often a member of staff on site. Alongside this, the option of ‘no other users in the centre’ received a high number of “not relevant responses”, reaffirming being a sole user is not necessarily a priority for hirers/users but that there is a clear preference for hired spaces being a dedicated space only accessible by the hirer/users within their set hire period.

This is important when considering refurbishment plans. The installation of the partition between the Lister Hall and Garden Room has helped create more dedicated spaces (which will be further improved by the upgrading of the stage door). Other measures have been put in place (locks, partitions etc) to prevent accidental entrance to hired areas. But this also means that, as part of the plans for the refurbishment of the front of the Chantry Centre, it will be important to ensure that the Centenary Lounge can be fully separated from the lobby area. This feedback may also influence the development plans for the Games Room.

Acoustics outscored Temperature Control!  Somewhat surprisingly (given the survey was undertaken in the middle of winter!) temperature control was rated as less essential than expected. Part of the reason for the relatively low score may be that for events with a large number of attendees, the Lister Hall heats up quickly.

The trustees are mindful of the need for the Chantry Centre to be at a comfortable temperature for its users but the age and layout of the building mean that solutions are very expensive. On this basis, other elements of the refurbishment are currently being prioritised. The issue of acoustics is consistent with the high number of respondents interested in performance, but is clearly an area for some further attention.

“Eclectic Design Style – Room by Room” just about wins out. It was the most popular with 28% of responses. As this would allow for a number of different styles, it is therefore worth noting ‘traditional – echoing the Listers heritage and back to The Chantry Centre’s 1920’s build (Art Deco) had a similar level of response (23% and 21% respectively) and ‘minimalistic - white walls and wooden floors’ received (18%). ‘Modern Industrial – exposed building structure’ was least favourable (10%).

The choice of interior style was probably influenced by the recorded age of users/potential users of the Chantry Centre, as adults (25-65) and seniors (65+) accounted for 58% and 24%, but the youth and young adults (16-25) category received no response.

Next Steps

We do not have sufficient funds to complete all elements of the Chantry Centre refurbishment so, alongside starting various projects we are actively working on a number of grant applications including the Rural England Prosperity Fund, Platinum Village Halls Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund. The survey is not only helpful to Trustees in considering the refurbishment priorities, but also a valuable tool in demonstrating the need for a project to prospective grant funders. 

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