Whilst every effort is made to keep overheads low, the Management Committee cannot always absorb the increases being levied by gas and electricity suppliers and the rising costs of general day to day maintenance. These costs must be reflected in the tariff of hire charges.
Following a review of existing hire charges the Foundation Trust Management Committee considered it necessary to raise hire charges in 2011 in order to meet rising costs since the last increases in 2003 and 2007.
However, the Management Committee are pleased to say that since 2011 they have kept private and commercial hire fees at the same rate, and in 2016 (and again in 2017) have reduced registered charity and non-profit booking fees for Billericay residents, clubs, societies and associations.
A general refurbishment of the building has taken place. The main hall and the committee room were fully refurbished and improved lighting was installed. A key objective while doing this was to improve facilities for wheelchair users by widening the entrance and passageway and converting an existing toilet to enable wheelchair access.
The Management Committee are extremely pleased with the results of the refurbishment work, and also with comments received from existing and prospective hirers to the improvements, made by upgrading this eighteenth century building to twenty-first century requirements.
A condition on the various grants received to fund the recent refurbishment was to utilise some of the Foundation Trusts reserve funds to meet part of the overall costs of the improvements. The Committee therefore recommended that, following the refurbishment, the reserves were reinstated to their original level, to provide a contingency to meet any unforeseen maintenance on this ageing property. This has now been achieved.
The building was redecorated by the Community Service Group in 2016 .
In 2017 the Trustees installed a shutter for the Atrium, blinds for the doors and an electrically operated projection screen to allow films and similar events to take place at any time of day. In addition, the hand-dryers in the toilets were replaced with airblade-style units.