It was ten years ago yesterday that Tandridge District Council voted to pass ownership of the Soper Hall to the Soper Hall Community Centre Limited after a long, prolific battle.
In the years since, the Hall has had its highs and lows. A particular low was in 2014 when there were plans to sell it for development as it was deemed to be unviable as a Community Centre. I joined the Board then, determined to overturn that plan and market the hell out of this unique, beautiful building. With people like the fantastic Andy Parr involved, we recruited a new team of Directors and proved the naysayers wrong. Seven years later, the Hall is the beating heart of Caterham and is the focus for community events, celebrations, weddings, elections, business events, markets, music nights, beer festivals, comedy nights and more. The under-utilised office space has been modernised, remodeled and has a host of tenants from Ridge Radio to the Caterham Independent – the rents from which sustained us during the lockdown when our income was slashed. We have installed new toilet facilities, outside lighting, redecorated walls, ceilings and refurbished floors. Our gorgeous Garland Hall was formed out of the warren of tiny offices which was previously the CAB.
All this activity has been due to the selfless work and efforts of a team of fabulous individuals who have given their precious time on the Board – both past and present: Matthew L Baker Lisa Fisher Hilary Hopkinson Gina Miller Andy Parr Lorena Oberg, Charlotte Drinkwater Michael Cooper, Chris Camden (sadly missed). I must also mention our many volunteers who support all our events and our great office managers past and present.
It’s been amazing guys.