For decades, Penrose residents have dreamed of building a new Community Hall with capacity to meet growing demand for the many gatherings that connect community members.
“After the Penrose Community Association put in an extensive grant application we were lucky to be awarded a grant from the Australian and NSW Governments Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund. That funding along with funding from Council’s Community Assistance Scheme has allowed us to finally build a venue that will help Penrose activate the Southern side of our Shire by attracting events, various performances and family celebrations to our village,” says Alison Duthie from Penrose Community Association.
The much-loved, original community hall will remain, and discussion is now taking place with the community as to what its future will be.
Situated looking out onto the Penrose Oval the spacious and contemporary new hall has been designed to provide increased capacity, with seating for up to 125 people, and an enhanced venue experience. “A lot of thought has gone into the quality and feel of the new hall with the acoustics being an important part of the project which will make the new hall suited to a wider range of functions and performances, from live performances and weddings, to low key community morning teas.” Alison explains.
Building a new and improved hall is integral to the community’s vision for taking Penrose into the future. “It has been thoughtfully positioned to activate this whole area of Penrose,” Alison says. “Adjacent to the oval and newly improved local tennis courts, it creates the possibility for indoor-outdoor event experiences and bringing the whole area together as a central gathering place.”
With their sights firmly set on better connecting Penrose with the rest of the Southern Highlands, the Community Association are excited to create a quality venue, intended to inspire people to think beyond the main townships when planning their function or event.
“We’re one of the Shire’s smallest villages and that has a charm all its own for weddings and other special occasions,” Alison says. “At last we’ll be able to offer the modern facilities needed for people to seriously consider bringing their celebrations to this picturesque corner of Wingecarribee, and enjoy the countryside and warm hospitality.”
Making this project happen has been a real community collaboration. “We’ve been incredibly lucky to have many volunteers willing to invest their time, and we’re very appreciative that Council has come alongside us which make sense as the new hall, once built, will be a council asset,” Alison says. Between the time of securing the BLERF grant and starting the build costs escalated and to bridge the gap Council contributed $400k toward the build, and top up funding was secured from the BLERF grant. “In addition, we applied for and were granted funds from Veolia which have allowed us to provide a wheelchair lift up onto the stage, while a Government Volunteer Grant will go towards a dishwasher for the new hall,” Alison said.
Council Administrator Viv May said, “We listen to what our villages want and together, we’re shaping a better future for our Shire by building the capacity and appeal of places like Penrose., through community-led projects like this. The latest round of Council’s Community Assistance Scheme grants will see many such innovative ideas for connecting our communities, come to fruition.”
Completion is on track for mid-November, putting the pretty village of Penrose on the map for functions coming into the Christmas season, and into the new year.
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