College students appeal for help to save landmark building

Community House on Wood Street, which is the home of the Mansfield Community and Voluntary Services (CVS) charity.
Community House on Wood Street, which is the home of the Mansfield Community and Voluntary Services (CVS) charity.

An appeal has been made to businesses and tradespeople to help students save a landmark, old building in Mansfield town centre.

The construction students at West Nottinghamshire College have been earmarked to repair the dilapidated Community House, which is the home of the Mansfield Community and Voluntary Services charity.

And they have won a donation of £5,000 worth of materials from Jewson’s Better Building Communities initiative to help them with the extensive project.

However, the college says that £5,000 will not stretch far, and much more is needed to bring the Wood Street building back to the required standard. Therefore, students are hoping that local companies can step in.

“We’re keen to hear from tradespeople who can offer their time -- maybe an hour or two per week -- or who can provide materials that could be used for renovations,” said Glynn Statham, the college’s head of construction.

“Whether it’s bricks, timber, plaster, paints or tiles, we’d be grateful for any kind donations.”

The building, which dates back to Victorian times, is badly in need of care and attention to enable the CVS charity to continue its valuable work in helping vulnerable people in the Mansfield area. Particular areas of concern include damp on the ground floor, which is causing plaster to crumble, and worn door architraves and woodwork. Exterior walls also need rebuilding, while paintwork needs refreshing throughout.

The CVS had no funding available to carry out the work and so, earlier this year, it met with staff from the college to discuss volunteering opportunities for the students in a partnership.

Partnership and engagement manager Lesley Watkins and maintenance worker Phil Taylor looked at areas the students could repair, giving them real work-experience. And then a successful written submission for a grant was made to the Jewson initiative.

The more urgent work is set to get under way now that the students have returned to the college after their summer break.

Mr Taylor said: “The damp on the ground floor is one of the major issues. We constantly battle with the tiles coming off in the toilets. The walls are so damp, the tiles just won’t adhere to them.

“We have received quotes from companies to refurbish the toilets and to do other essential work. But sadly, this has proved to be beyond our own finances.”

COMMUNITY House is a Victorian building that was rescued and bought from the Co-operative Society in the early 1980s thanks to donations from charities and companies in the Mansfield area.

It became the home of the Mansfield Community and Voluntary Services (CVS) organisation, which has been helping to support groups and individuals in the town for more than 35 years. However, the building has been showing its age for some time and is in urgent need of repairs.

The CVS duly joined forces with West Nottinghamshire College whose Kirkby campus houses a wealth of students studying hard to gain qualifications in painting, decorating, plumbing, brickwork, joinery and electrical skills. They are seen as the ideal people to undertake the essential jobs that desperately need completing to renovate the building. But just as in the 1980s, help is needed from Mansfield businesses.