It may not be the largest hall in the world, says Jen Green — and it may not be the smartest. But our little hall is our only public meeting space, and one of our very few amenities. It is a space to promote our community, meet and talk, run whatever groups we choose… perhaps it’s not so fanciful to see it as the heart of our small community.
In December 2011, villagers learned from the Church PCC that the hall was under threat of immediate closure, following the departure of the Good Start School. The PCC announced that it would need £200 per month to cover running costs such as light and heating to keep the hall open in 2012. Otherwise it would be closed, and the land would likely be sold for development.
Fortunately at the packed meeting, people showed a real enthusiasm and determination to save the hall. In response, the PCC agreed not to sell immediately, but to allow villagers to have the hall for a year for the above-mentioned sum, to be reviewed after six months.
The hall was gifted to the village about 100 years ago to provide a public space. The Village Hall Action Group (VHAG) has been formed to try to prevent the closure and permanent loss of this historic amenity. The first meetings of the Action Group in January have been very well attended, showing a groundswell of support. Villagers have come up with many ideas for increasing usage of the hall. There are now regular meetings that are open to all — please watch Pigeon Post and fulking.net.
SUPPORT YOUR VILLAGE HALL!!
From 1 February we need to raise £200 a month to cover running costs. Many of us believe it’s not so much about maintaining bricks and mortar as retaining a communal space for villagers. There is no doubt that the hall will close without support. That’s why the Action Group is asking if you or your household would be willing to give a small sum to help keep the hall open. Please give £3, £5, £10 or more if possible on a monthly basis, or a cheque or cash. Standing orders would be appreciated so we have money coming in regularly. As well as running costs we would like to raise money for repairs and to buy new equipment so we can increase use of the hall.
There are just over 100 households in Fulking, so the maths is easy. If 20 households give £10 a month, or 40 households give £5, we can raise the money. Please return the standing order form to Nick Hughes or Jen Green — see details on the insert sheet. Alternatively you can give cash, a cheque or let us know if you intend setting up a standing order, but prefer not to do it using the form. Email Jen Green on email@example.com or Nick Hughes on nickhughes100@ btinternet.com. You may also receive a visit on behalf of this appeal; if you definitely don’t want such a visit, please let us know by email — or pre-empt us by returning your standing order!
What will you get for your money? Well, that’s up to you — to get value for money, we hope you’ll be using the hall regularly, for example as a youth club, toddler group, for exercise or get-togethers, for drama, films, talks, parties etc. Or for the group YOU want to see in the hall — please suggest it at a meeting or email your ideas to Tricia at tricia. firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can use the hall any time you want for the knock-down price of just £1 per person per session for villagers, and £10 per hour for non-Fulking / Edburton residents. To book contact Carolyn Loveless, preferably by email, on email@example.com or call 280.
USE IT OR LOSE IT!!
The hall has been very under — used except by the Good Start School. The departure of the school gives us a larger and less cluttered space to use how we want. We are also looking for outside groups, businesses etc to rent it on a part-time or one-off basis, for example for meetings. Any ideas to Tricia Robinson.
New ideas for using the hall and generating income:
- A ‘Family Coffee Morning’ where toddlers and mothers get together. First meeting arranged for Wednesday 22 February from 10-12. Any donations of equipment of toys would be welcome.
- Zumba sessions — the latest dance exercise craze for which the hall would be an ideal space.
- Teashop and art on weekend afternoons in summer, with village artists showing work. Another suggestion would be to find someone to run this as a business on a more regular basis.
- Youth club for 9-15s. Nick Hughes, Nicole Walker and Tessa Prothero are organising, probably twice monthly. Dates and times TBA. Equipment needed: half-size pool table.
- Film shows: Simon Prince and Adrian Caroen are organising. Equipment needed: projector, DVD player. We have been promised a screen.
- The Drama Group organised by Myriam Brenner is to move to the hall for rehearsals soon.
- Informal choir — Tricia Robinson 255, Alison Daly 705.
- Board games evenings for adults — first one 16 March, 7.30. Jen Green 552.
- Gardening produce meetings held maybe twice yearly — spring seedling swap, summer produce swap, with tea, cakes etc.
- Pre-Xmas art and craft show.
- Art classes a possibility, equipment will be needed.
- Fulking ‘s Got Talent — Nicole Walker and Alison Taylor are organising the event for 22 April. • Yoga — Tricia Robinson has moved her yoga classes to the Village Hall again.
- Talks and workshops: Jim Bambury will do a bicycle workshop, and first-aid and one-off art workshops are a possibility.
- Business / conference venue: Adrian Caroen suggests that, with a bit of upgrading, businesses might use the hall for day meetings. We would need a coffee machine, a screen for projecting presentations etc. The hall would need to be more welcoming with curtains and more comfortable furniture, small tables and better (quieter!) heating.
Jim Sapsted and Lee Holden plus others have offered to help with minor repairs. Plans are afoot to clean and varnish the wooden floor. Chris Gildersleeve and Carolyn Sapsted are going to clean up the kitchen. Any offers of help welcome!
So, lots of ideas — now we need to organise them! So even if you were not able to come to the meetings but could help with any of the above activities, or know where to acquire equipment, please let us know! You can contact Trish on 255, Nick Hughes on 868, Jen Green and Chris Gildersleeve on 552, or the people named as organising events.