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August 2011 - Cornard News

Page updated - 29 August 2011

These articles were previously published in the Autumn 2001 issue of Cornard News


WHOS History

Since 1875, two Victorian school buildings have stood while time has washed over its exterior and its light & airy Halls were filled with the sound of children being taught by chalk & talk. The wrought iron perimeter fencing that marked a boundary for the children, whilst playing games and chanting playground rhymes, has seen generations of families pass through the gates to attend this centre of community learning.


In latter years two temporary buildings were added to extend its ‘centre of community’ status. This vision may sound like a ‘world away’ from the locally known feature as Wells Hall Old School (WHOS) but the buildings on this site have been providing the local people with a community centre for the last 135 years!


Though it may look dormant, this piece of our local heritage has been a centre, for Suffolk County Council (SCC), for Adult Education and Children & Young People’s Services to provide youth outreach services, adult learning courses, workshops, youth clubs and - the best kept secret of all - a venue for local clubs & social groups to hold meetings & events.


It is perhaps because of the corporate policies of SCC that, ironically, this facility hasn’t received the attention it rightly deserves. So imagine the surprise to residents when they learnt that, as part of the New Strategic Direction of SCC, the site was to be ‘divested’, or sold off, as part of the County-wide savings.


This has motivated an enthusiastic group of local residents to form a community group who are determined to take over the running of this ‘focal’ venue for Great Cornard residents and to, once again, make it a Community hive of learning, support and entertainment for all ages.


Charlotte Glass - Cornard Resident

WHOS Team member



WHOS Users

Members of our Community are already working towards returning Wells Hall Old School (WHOS) to the important meeting and activity centre is once was. The WHOS Users Team is now ‘up and running’; working to grow and evolve this community facility to, once again, offer an exciting range of clubs, groups and activities to suit all ages and interests.


To ensure long-term success we need to know what the people of Cornard would like to see provided and we therefore need as much feedback and support from local residents as possible. The WHOS Users Team often meets at 7.30pm on Wednesday at the Old School. We would value your support and we invite you to our next meeting but it is best to phone first to check when we are meeting. We are not asking you to commit to anything, although we would welcome more new members to the WHOS Users Team!


We are eager to talk to people who already run interest groups or would like to hear more about setting up a new one – enthusiasm is more important than experience – help and guidance is available. We also need ideas and support for fundraising events that will help us maintain and improve the facilities available within the WHOS complex.


It has become apparent to us that many local residents are not aware of exactly what WHOS has to offer. Maybe you are looking for a venue for a birthday party or seeking for a regular meeting place? Either way we would be delighted to show you around! If you are interested in bringing your own interest group to the Old School, would like to join the Use WHOS Team, or would like to offer your ideas and support; we would love to see you at our next meeting.


If you can’t make it but would still like give the WHOS Users Team your ideas or want to take a look over the facilities available please see the WHOS Contacts piece by Chris Proffitt.


In the meantime, to find out a bit more and follow our progress, visit the WHOS page on www.cornard.info then follow the facebook hyperlink or just phone us.


Toni Ellis – Local Guiding Commissioner

WHOS Team member



WHOS Community

As the chair of the WHOS Project Team, from the group discussions and the individual knowledge, skills and experience in the group, I am positive that WHOS has a bright future.


Unlike its current operational model, the future WHOS Team intends to run as a social enterprise, that is, it will seek to encourage and promote usage that includes meeting the needs of the young, disadvantaged and isolated of Great Cornard. It aims to support a good mixture of clubs, classes, social and support groups. It will be a ‘not for profit’ venture that intends to re-invest surpluses back into WHOS to extend and upgrade activities for the benefit of the community and its users.


On a personal level, my long-term vision for the project is to build on the current community relationships and focus on giving everyone a community space to share common interests, make new friends and learn new skills.


This is also an opportunity for new youth initiatives, area clubs to branch out, local people to create new club based micro-businesses and existing home businesses to thrive.


Many of us don’t take part in local activities because the opportunities don’t fit in with our work/life balance, but it’s in everyone’s interests as citizens to save WHOS and make it into whatever you want it to be. The WHOS Team are working to having extended hours to accommodate our hectic lifestyles.


Everyone, especially YOU, can have a say in this project, so start making your ‘shopping list’. The inspirational community response to the recent riots in the UK are proof enough of what can be achieved when we pull together and show some pride in our Community.


I urge you to get involved and show your support in whatever way you can.


Charlotte Glass – Cornard Resident

WHOS Team member



WHOS Contacts

A good venue and location is very important for a good attendance at any event. If you want to start your own club, run a course or attend an event, then Wells Hall Old School (WHOS) could be your perfect venue.


Although Suffolk County Council (SCC) plan to divest themselves of our Old School they would be happy for our local Community to take it over if we can prove that it would be properly run.


WHOS has two large rooms (Front Hall & Back Hall), smaller rooms, kitchens and toilets. All of the meeting-venue areas are DDA (disabled) compliant. The whole site is easy access with a good-sized car park and a small grassed area. The rooms and car park can be made secure.

The leader of one group who is interested in the facilities said “The Old School has a great atmosphere, just right for my members.”


All these facilities are now available for hire. Until the end of December 2011 SCC will run WHOS but from January 2012 volunteers from our Community are planning to manage and run this versatile venue. In the meantime, the WHOS Project Team is producing a business plan and would like to hear from anyone interested in using the facilities or wishing to offer their help and join the, growing, WHOS Team of Volunteers.


Until further notice you can visit the Old School at 10am any Saturday morning for a short guided-tour. Please contact me by phone on (01787) 374289, or email chrisjproffitt@gmail.com , if you need more information or to make a booking.

Chris Proffitt – Local Businessman

WHOS Team member