Bid to raise £750,000 to refurbish Harborough school hall

Vice principal Richard Taylor, fundraiser Louise Jones, principal Sue Jones and chairman og governors Max Corney inside the main hall  at Robert Smyth Academy before the start of the Hall Together Now fundraising appeal's launch
Vice principal Richard Taylor, fundraiser Louise Jones, principal Sue Jones and chairman og governors Max Corney inside the main hall at Robert Smyth Academy before the start of the Hall Together Now fundraising appeal's launch

A campaign to raise £750,00 to refurbish a large school hall to create “the best performing arts space in the Harborough area” was launched this week.

The ambitious project is centred on the main hall at Robert Smyth Academy in Burnmill Road in the town.

If the project’s aims are achieved, the hall will become a beautiful, stand-alone venue for both the school and the wider community to use.

“We’re looking to raise awareness and raise money,” explained the scheme’s fundraiser Louise Jones, after Tuesday night’s launch.

“The hall is just beautiful, but it’s so tired at the moment.

“We’re looking to bring it up to its former glory, install tiered seating and then extend it with a foyer and bar, a reception area and additional rooms.”

School principal Sue Jones added: “I think it’s the largest performance space in the local area but it doesn’t lend itself to high-quality performances at the moment.

“We’re looking to create the best performing arts space in the local area, and I believe it has that potential.”

This week’s launch of the Hall Together Now! campaign saw potential sponsors and friends of the project come together at the school.

Guests were told: “We hope that you will embrace the campaign to make the hall a fantastic facility for both Robert Smyth Academy and the whole community.”

The evening was a chance for guests to find out more about the plans, and either hire the facilities or sponsor the refurbishment.

The Hall Together Now! project is in three phases.

Phase one is almost completed, with new windows and doors installed and work on the hall’s exterior progressing.

Phase two will see the installation of a new floor, retractable theatre-style tiered seating, new staging and the removal of an asbestos ceiling to accommodate theatrical lighting. Phase three involves a new extension out towards Burnmill Road with plans for a foyer and bar, reception area, extra rooms and storage space.

Sue said: “We’re hoping all that can be achieved in the next two years.

“Lots of people think it’s a fantastic idea. We’re at the start of an exciting adventure.”