St Martin’s Institute, which was originally called the Victoria Memorial Hall, was opened in 1904. It is a grade two listed building. It has a very large upstairs hall with a wooden floor and stage, and a downstairs hall which is divided into two and also has a kitchen.
It is a beautiful building which has sadly been neglected and now needs quite a bit of work doing. However, in recent years we have been successful in getting a grant from BIFFA to replace the heating system, and we are gradually updating the building.
St Martin’s Church has always regarded the Institute as a community building which is run for the benefit of the local community. It aims to keep rental of the halls at an affordable rate.
The Institute is well used by groups who are regular users and for community functions such as children’s parties, wedding, funeral and baptism receptions.
Groups using the Institute on a regular basis:
St Martin’s Community Kitchen – Saturday 12-2 pm, providing a free hot meal for those that are struggling.
The Wobblies – A community organisation which looks at improving the health of the local community. This group is for over 50’s and those who have health problems. Gentle exercise to improve health and mobility and to prevent social isolation.
Shiroi Bara Taido – A traditional Japanese art which has used the institute for 21 years, maintains traditional culture and discipline. Open to all adults who want to study traditional Japanese culture.
Lishi International – A group which studies traditional Chinese exercise.
Feel Good Factor Tai Chi – A group which meets on a Thursday morning to practice Tai Chi.
Elevations Dance Academy – meets twice a week, Monday and Friday evenings, providing dance classes for children.
Brownies and Guides – Meet on a Wednesday evening.
Zimbabwe Church – Meet all day Friday and Sunday.
Independent Church – Pastor Tumba, meets on a Sunday afternoon.
Karate – A private karate group meets on Tuesday evenings.
Mothers’ Union – Meets once a month, black Caribbean and white British members.
Local Events – Funerals, weddings and baptism receptions, children’s parties.