Here you can find instructions for using Harwell Village Hall, both Orchard Hall and Cherry Hall.   These notes are designed to help, and not to frighten you.  Relax, it’s straightforward.


What to bring

Check with the FAQ > Facilities > What equipment is available in the kitchen? and work out what you will need over and above what is provided.

Here is a list of items which you cannot assume will be in the hall, and which may be a good idea to bring with you:

  • Lots of plastic bags for removing all rubbish (clear bags for removing recycling) – please don’t leave rubbish in the hall, or in the bins outside
  • Lots of T-Towels and J-cloths
  • E-cloth or similar for wiping stainless steel surfaces
  • T-towel, or similar, to use on surface above the dishwasher to collect moisture from washed items
  • Floor cloth for spills, especially in the kitchen.
  • Table cloths (tables are 1830mm x 760mm, approx 6ft x 2½ft)
  • Corkscrew and bottle opener
  • Sharp knives, and any additional cutlery other than standard knives forks etc.
  • Heat proof mats/pads if serving from oven hot pans/ dishes
  • Torch, if staying after “lights out”. Cherry Hall entrance light and all car park lights go off about 30 mins after your booking ends, or at midnight.

Getting in and out

Before your booking you will receive an email with details of your 4-digit access code, and how to use it to get in and out, and unset and set the alarm system.


Lights are controlled from light panels – metal finish, and the size of a light switch, but with a set of buttons:

  • in the foyer (under the fire alarm)
  • in Orchard Hall go in, turn left, and it’s near the AV cupboard in the corner, or turn right, and it’s near fire exit doors.
  • in Cherry Hall come it from the High Street end lobby doors and they are on the left, and also by the Fire exit doors.

All these light panels operate this way:

  • Top left button to turn lights on.
  • Bottom left button to turn everything off.
  • in between, the buttons offer different lighting settings.
  • In the foyer, the bottom left button will also turn out the Orchard Hall lights, in case you forgot.

Additional lights

  • The High Street lobby has a manual light switch.  Please remember to turn it off if leaving that way.
  • Kitchen has a manual light switch.
  • Toilet and toilet corridor lights are automatic.
  • The light in the glass lobby of the foyer exit is automatic.
  • Outside lights down the sides of the building are all on totally automatic timers.
  • Cherry Hall entrance light, and Westfield car park lights are manually timed.  The should be set to go off about 30 mins after the last booking in an evening.

Here is a summary guide to the lighting in the Orchard Hall.

Letting more people in

  • For maximum security in the Village Hall please try to keep the foyer door closed all the time, so that you can have your event without having to worry about intruders.
  • You, as hirer, are responsible for the security of the building and making sure there are no intruders, so think before you leave the foyer entry door open, or open the sliding door.
  • You may share your access code with all members of your group or your guests and they can let themselves in at any time during your booking.  The code will not work at other times.
  • In Orchard Hall, opening the fire exit door by the foyer gives direct access to the room, so you can see who is coming in.
  • In Cherry Hall, you can safely leave the front door open, because people can only get into Cherry Hall, and you can also see who is coming in.
  • Mobility scooters may enter the hall, and the emergency doors in either Cherry Hall or Orchard Hall should be opened to allow access.  Access through the foyer corridor is difficult and should be limited to smaller, class 2, scooters.  Larger class 3 road going scooters must not use the access corridor and must use the emergency exit doors.  Once in, mobility scooters must not block any fire exits, and their drivers must take care to ensure the safety of all users of the hall.

Safety, and briefing your users or guests

  • First time in, please explore and make sure you know where everything is.
  • Especially, make sure you know where all the fire exit doors are.
  • Note that fire exit at the foyer door is through the glass porch, and not the sliding door.
  • Very important, it is your responsibility to make sure all the guests for your booking are briefed about fire drill and exits.
  • At the same time, tell them where to find the toilets.
    NB Toilets are shared, and the corridor between is also shared space. From a safeguarding point of view, young children should be accompanied to the toilet.
  • Remind guests that village hall site is a no smoking area, which includes building, patios and car park areas.
  • Please no windows or doors open if you have a DJ or loud music as it disturbs the neighbours. Orchard Hall – you are welcome to open up the patio doors and use the outside area if loud music is not being played. Cherry Hall – please only open the fire exit doors for loading/unloading.

Tables and Chairs

  • In Orchard Hall, these are behind the retractable seating
  • In Cherry Hall, they are in one of the cupboards (the one nearest the door to the corridor)


We aim to preset the temperature so that the hall is comfortable when you arrive.

  • Cherry Hall is heated by radiators. There are control boxes by the fire exit, and near the AV cupboard (two, in case we ever partition the hall into two rooms; for now they each do the same thing).  If the heating is  on, a green light should show.
    If the heating is programmed to be on by timer, then pressing the button will have no effect, and the heating will stay on.  We hope to get this changed.
    If the heating is not under timer control, and is off, press the little button, and the heating (and the light) will come on for two hours.  Press again to turn back on.
    For users that may want to control the heat, the room will be heated by programme before the booking, and then turned off. If more heat is needed, just press the little button.
  • Orchard Hall is heated by radiators and by an air handling unit (AHU) which circulates heated air, or air at outside temperatures in the summer when the heating is off.
    • The control box is to the left of the entrance door.
    • There is a little dial which adjusts the target temperature by +/- 2 degrees.  Turn full left to target 17C, and full right for 21C.  Point straight up for 19C, and please try to leave in this position when you go. The radiators and the AHU should respond to this adjustment.
    • A green light will indicate that the AHU is running. Press the little button, and the AHU, and the light, will go off for a two hours. Press again to turn back on.  Radiators may stay on, depending on the temperature of the room and the setting on the dial.
  • The Foyer is heating by programme to be on at a low level from 8000-2000 every day.
  • Toilets are heated if other areas are heated.
  • The Committee Room is on the same heating circuit as the Cherry Hall.  If Cherry Hall is heated then the committee room will be as well.  This room has the only radiator with a thermostat which can be user adjusted.


  • In Cherry Hall you can open the windows
  • In Orchard Hall, the air handling unit will provide fresh air, but, if needed, you can open the fire exit doors.
  • In the kitchen there is an extractor fan, plus two windows high up opened by rotating handles on the walls.  Please remember to close them, if you open them


There is a bank of labelled switches in one corner.  Turn on as required. Please turn them all off when you leave. Switches include:

  • The water heater which supplies boiling water. Please use this instead of kettles.
  • The fridge; please leave the door open when finished.
  • Dishwashers.
  • Roller Blinds (#1 is Cherry Hall end, #2 for Foyer end). There is a key-switch top right of each blind to raise or lower them.
  • Warming cupboard.  As well as the wall switch, there is a switch at the bottom of the warming cupboard, almost at floor level.

Audio Visual Equipment

An Audio Visual (AV) system is available in both halls, to play music, use a microphone, or watch a video.  If you will want to use it please contact us in advance,  and we will tell you where to find the key to the equipment cupboard, and if necessary arrange to show you how to use it. Please plan ahead for this, because if you phone us up at the start of your booking to use the equipment, there will be a charge for the call out that might be needed.

Playback from a smartphone is especially easy:

Orchard Hall Cherry Hall
Switch everything on big switch bottom left of cabinet mains switch in panel above units
Plug your phone in (make sure phone volume is high) socket in bottom panel connect the loose cable at the top of the cabinet direct to your phone
Adjust volume Right knob on mixer unit (with lots of knobs), plus top of units are volume controls for bigger speakers above cupboards, one for each speaker. Right knob on mixer unit (with lots of knobs).

At end, turn off with single switch and lock up.

For more complex AV needs please read:

Apple Mac and IPhones

Lastest IPhones do not have a headphone connection socket, and hence cannot be connected.

Most Macs do not have HDMI ports, and may need a converter.  Even with a converter, connection is not without difficulty, and is sensitive to the power up sequence of the Mac and the projector. Testing is advance is recommended.

Retractable Seating

Do not attempt to use the retractable seating unless you have been shown how to use.  Please ask in advance. If you have been shown how to use it, your first priority is safety; make sure no-one is near the seating when it is moving. Key things to remember:

  • Remove boards covering the steps and stow behind seats
  • Put bottom step in place and secure
  • Place a row a chairs in front of the seats

Before retracting, manually lower the front row of seats, and the back/top row (to stop them getting dusty).

Fire Alarm

  • It might be a big box, but if it goes off, you must assume that it is genuine and your first priority is your safety and the safety of your group.
  • Evacuate the building and do not worry about any flashing messages on the box.
  • The fire rendezvous point is the High Street car park.


  • Leave your hall, the kitchen, the foyer and the toilets as you found them; there is no cleaning fairy coming in between bookings.
  • Cleaning materials are in the cupboard at end of toilet corridor.


  • There is a First Aid box in the kitchen. Please leave a note in the feedback book if you use stuff, so it can be replaced.
  • There is also an Accident Book beside the fridge in the kitchen which you should fill in if the accident was in anyway related to the hall.

Power cuts

After a power cut the intruder alarm will beep every minute.  Please call booking admin to have it reset.

Be aware also that in the event of a power cut or fire alarm (only one power cut in 24 months so far) the roller blinds in the kitchen will close rapidly, potentially smashing anything in their way.


  • Any problems? Leave a note in the feedback book in the kitchen.

More instructions

*These sheets should be in the kitchen.

(last updated 29 Apr 2024)

A venue for all in Harwell, Oxfordshire