The process that Portobello Central was started for has come a long way. We fought the commercial and convinced the powers to be that we were a serious and capable group. We asked the community what they wanted and we are delivering.
Constant motion towards a goal we had to achieve. It is now time to think to the further future. How do I see the building? How do my colleagues see it? What do we envisage? What do you the community see?
Once the building is made safe and watertight, and the lease signed, then activities can start coming in. Refurbishment and decorating works can be going on in some spaces whilst the doors are open to certain activities. It is very important to get people using the town hall ASAP. We want it to seem like it never closed. The last two years can be absorbed in the mists of time.
Now we are approved as a charity, we will be able to apply to many more funding places. This funding will be essential in the initial few years to pay the basic overheads as well as any improvements or changes. Opening quickly is very desirable, in order to start bringing in hire fees and building up our hirers, so that in 4 or 5 years we are able to wash our own faces financially.
We are very confident that it won’t take long to create a busy, vibrant and progressive town hall. We already have a list of people wanting to book. At least two people have asked about weddings. We also have amazing new blood joining the team with talent and experience to drive this forward.
As we have said from beginning, we want you to pass the building and be drawn to its “lit up” windows and a cacophony of sounds spilling on to pavement. A certain effervescence and glow that draws you in. And not just the evenings. If Porty Town Hall is to be the centre of Portobello it should be open from early morning, perhaps offering an early morning fitness class for office workers catching the No 26 bus to town centre. Later mornings should have prams cluttering up the foyer while giggling or screaming babies or toddlers come to Baby Yoga or Toddler activities. In the afternoon we might have a quiet time with the ‘click clack’ of someone on a computer somewhere in the building.
Then the schools come out, and kids dash down to the hall, for martial arts, drama, roller-dance etc. We expect evenings to fill up again with former users; who are in touch frequently; desperate to get back to using the hall. Zumba, kick boxing, Pilates. A huge range of learning, socialising, keeping healthy and being entertained.. Yes! We will have dances, concerts and ceilidhs, shows and music.
And the building? Well it will stand for another 120 years at least. A central beacon calling to everyone. Come and use me. Come and care for me. Always in in perpetual motion.
Take care everyone
PS: If any of you reading this are interested in hiring the hall from April 2022 then please contact me. I can keep you updated and pass you onto our as yet not appointed bookings manager.