Our premises at Pinewood Avenue have served us and the community well over the years but were showing their age and in need of refurbishment. The Trustees decided to improve and expand the services provided. Working with architects and builders a plan of improvements was drawn up, which will support our future vision for COATS and allow us to offer even more to our community.
Commencing May 2019 our building will be transformed. It will have:
- A new roof with skylights to let natural light in.
- Better access and entrance to our Centre.
- More internal space to give us more room for activities and events.
- Much needed storage space for equipment to support our activities.
- Modern audio visual systems connected to the internet.
- Much improved toilet facilities.
When we open our new-look Centre in the Autumn we will continue to offer everything that has made us so popular and successful to date, and will also introduce new events, activities and services to our Visitors and our community.
PROGRESS REPORT OCTOBER 2019
THE BUILDING REFURBISHMENT
The COATS Trustees are pleased to announce that the end of our building refurbishment work is now in sight. We are confident that our new-look Centre will be ready for us to start moving into from the end of October. We plan to be operating from Pinewood Avenue again from Monday 18th November.
Planning is already underway to complete the cosmetic finishing work within the Centre and to move our goods and chattels back from storage at Wellington College to the Centre during the first 2 weeks of November.
The pictures below show that the vision we had for our new-look Centre has been achieved. No more leaky roof, much better access via our new entrance, new toilets, office space and staff room and a wider, lighter main lounge along with a much more useable front lounge.
As soon as we have settled back in and ironed out any teething troubles our thoughts will turn to how we introduce Crowthorne and our prospective new Visitors to our new-look premises. We are looking at the possibility of running a series of open days and a grand opening ceremony to shamelessly show off our fantastic new COATS Centre to the wider world.
So many people have worked together to ensure that the Building a Better COATS project would succeed and that we could continue to serve our Visitors during the building work.
This ambitious building project could not have been completed without the hard work of our trustees; Martin Rickards, who has Project Managed the building work supported by Richard Cox. Both have given many hours of their time over the last 5 months. Their attention to detail and decision-making has been critical in ensuring that the end result will serve our Visitors well for many years to come.
Moving us out before the building work and back in on completion is a challenging exercise and has been skilfully planned and managed by Roger Fox supported by the trustees, staff and volunteers. Our move back into Pinewood Avenue will involve a good deal of lifting and shifting of our possessions and furniture from storage at Wellington College. If you are able to help Roger and his team in the first 2 weeks of November then please call him on 01344 762271 to offer your services.
Thanks go to Bernie and her staff and volunteers who have worked hard to ensure that our Visitors have continued to be looked after and entertained in our temporary premises at Wellington College. Our volunteer drivers and passenger assistants have put in extra hours to make sure that as many of our Visitors as possible have been able to get to Wellington College. Bernie and her team now face the challenge of getting us back into Pinewood Avenue and up and running. This will include giving a good clean to our kitchen area and it’s contents and finding homes for all our possessions in our new storage area, office and staff room. If you are able to help Bernie and her team in the first 2 weeks of November then please call her on 01344 773464 to offer your services.
Finally, our heartfelt thanks to the team at Wellington College who have contributed in so many ways during the Building a Better COATS project. Firstly they have hosted us at Napoleon’s Retreat always ensuring that we could continue to operate and welcome our Visitors. They have also provided men, vans and storage facilities for all our goods and chattels for the duration of the project. Nothing has been too much trouble to them and they have always been helpful, flexible and quick to respond when we had any issue.
We are sure that you will share our excitement as we start the next chapter of the COATS story in our new-look Centre.
Support BUILDING A BETTER COATS
“Through careful financial management, strong revenue from our charity shop plus the generous support of a number of benefactors we have sufficient reserves to fund the building element of Building a Better COATS. However we are looking for donations to help us fit out the refurbished building with good quality fixtures and fittings. Every contribution, no matter how small will help us to do this. Please visit our Gofundme page to donate.”