THE WHEEL HOUSE and Booking Details
The Wheel House - The Jewel in our Crown - CHRIS THOMAS (CHAIRMAN), Betty Evans, Gary Willcocks, Keith Miskin, Maureen Bell. Trevor Williams
'THE WHEELHOUSE' and How to book it
The Rotary Club of Fareham was chartered in 1946 and within months the club took under its wing a local orphanage called St Edith's. The Club decided to provide a beach house for use by the orphanage which was erected by the members using their various skills and was officially opened in1948. In later years it became known as "The Wheelhouse". The building was used by various charitable organisations over the years and no charge was made for this use.
By the 1980's, the Wheelhouse was in a terrible state of repair, mainly due to its age and its location by the sea and this was costing the club a considerable amount of money. After high tides the building flooded and had to be cleared and cleaned of things such as dead crabs etc., before it could be used again.
In 1991, Ben Benstead became President of the Club and his project for that year was to raise funds to enable the Wheelhouse to be demolished and rebuilt which seemed to be the only solution to the ongoing problem. Other Rotary clubs were asked to contribute to the rebuilding costs but, sadly, all declined. Ben then decided to give the club an interest free loan and carry out the work at cost with several other members also giving interest free loans. The Club decided to proceed and shelved all other projects until the loans were repaid. This was achieved in less than 3 years!
The new Wheelhouse measures 22 feet 5 inches (6.83m) by 24 foot 8 inches (7.52m) internally containing a fully equipped kitchen area with electric cooker, microwave, sink unit, work tops, water heating equipment, crockery, cutlery, tables, chairs etc. and a separate toilet area. The building can accommodate a maximum of 42 people and has sufficient facilities for this number. For the hard of hearing a loop system was installed.
Fareham Borough Council provides the land at a peppercorn rent and has fully supported various alterations to assist with disabled access to the building. Hampshire County Council kindly gave a grant to provide the new shutters mentioned below.
The Wheelhouse was made available for hire, at very modest cost, to local charitable groups such as MS, Day Care Centres, Church organisations, etc. and achieved about 50 bookings per year as well as being used for some club activities. In about 2005, it was decided to start a rolling refurbishment programme and was internally decorated, new tables bought and more pro-actively marketed. Since that time, new carpet/vinyl flooring has been laid, water heater renewed, and new shutters and front door fitted externally. Club banners, which had been strung around the walls, were sewn onto large wall hangings made by the wife of one of our members, Marion Thomas, and are renewed on occasions. The kitchen has been totally renewed with thanks to B&Q for generously discounting the materials, and all of the large windows have been replaced. At all times, provision has been made for the disabled with ramps and grab rails fitted particularly in the toilet area. Routine maintenance ensures that the Wheelhouse facilities are renewed and/or replaced as necessary. For example, in 2015/16, the curtains were replaced by vertical blinds and tables replaced by coloured “Gopak” ones..
The building is available, at modest cost to charitable organisations and Rotary Clubs for the charitable organisations that they support etc. Occasional bookings are available to non-charitable organisations. Annual bookings now exceed 130 annually, mainly in the months of April to September, although with two fan convector heaters, the Wheelhouse can be made quite snug in the cooler months!
It is run on behalf of the club by a small group of Trustees with a committee to oversee the daily running.
If your club would like to bring a group to the Wheelhouse,
then contact Chris Thomas on 01329 663685 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wheelhouse - Directions
The Wheelhouse has no postcode – the nearest for SATNAV users is PO14 3LR
Wheel House Committee.
Chairman - Chris Thomas.
Betty Evans, Gary Willcocks, Keith Miskin, Maureen Bell, Trevor Wiliams