“The Old Rectory truly is the heart of Handsworth.”
Centre manager Tim Shafer smiles as he looks around the grand building that has stood proudly on its site on Handsworth Road since the 15th or 16th century.
“This a such a fantastic old building with lots of history and the events of the community all centre around it - everything from karate classes and mum and toddler groups, to weddings and birthday parties.
“We celebrate all the big calendar events too, Bonfire Night celebrations and Christmas markets and plenty of family fun days.
“Out here in the suburbs, we’re a bit out of the way of city centre events, so we aim to provide a focal point for the community, and really give the people of Handsworth somewhere to call their own.”
The Old Rectory is managed by a charitable board of Trustees and has been hosting a variety of events, conferences, meetings and classes in its rooms for over 40 year, with all of its profits used to put on further events and help to keep room hire rates affordable.
“We’re entirely self-funded,” says Tim.
“We have a fixed staff of six and many others that we bring in to work on different events. We’re not a big corporate chain and that’s clear from the way we work; we’re all local and genuinely care about making sure each event and gathering is the best it can be.”
The most recent addition to the rectory’s list of events is weddings.
“We started doing weddings seven years ago, and now hold around 50 to 60 a year; it’s a really popular venue and any new dates we have tend to book up really quickly,” says Tim, who has been coordinating events at The Old Rectory for eight years.
“This is an absolutely beautiful venue for a wedding, with this fantastic timber frame building, which dates back to Tudor times, all clad within a lovely Georgian package
“We offer a completely bespoke professional wedding package - there’s not much we can’t do. We can organise flowers, chair covers, balloons, food and drink - and pretty much anything else you can think of - all on site. We’re like a giant pick ‘n’ mix menu where you can just pick whatever you’d like!
“We do a lot of things ourselves, but we also have a fantastic list of suppliers who come in to do the things we can’t - all local individuals and businesses, which is really important to us.
“Wedding parties have exclusive use of the venue, which is great as we have these fantastic Georgian drawing rooms and sitting rooms which can be used for all different parts of the day.
“What’s also great is that we have the big rooms which can fit 200 people in for bigger weddings, but then we have these wonderful smaller rooms with big feature fireplaces which are just perfect for more intimate civil ceremonies for just 40 or 50 guests.
“We give you free reign to design your own event - whatever it may be and for whatever occasion - and we’re just here to help turn your vision into reality.”
Visit www.orh.org.uk for more details on upcoming events or room hire at The Old Rectory.