May News

What a difference a year makes. The last Village Hall Annual General Meeting attracted five attendees. At the meeting held on 20 April 2022 the figure was around sixty. How to explain the difference? Better publicity, a sunny evening, a free drink? Whatever the reason it was great to see such a good turnout. This year we reverted to the pre-Covid pattern of combining with the Annual Parish Meeting which itself was experimenting with a new format.  

The meeting began with a warm welcome from the Chairman, David Robertson who introduced the Treasurer Charlie Findlay to present the 2021 accounts. There was bad news and good. The main feature of the year had been the long period of closure and the reduction in income from hiring. At the same time running costs had increased most significantly insurance following a revaluation and repairs to the boiler and cookers. Fund raising had resulted in a small loss possibly due to generous expenditure on fireworks for the November bonfire party. On the upside, covid related government grants amounting to over £16,000 covered the operating loss and enabled the floor to be refurbished and the walls to be redecorated while the hall was closed. A substantial contribution had been made to the Froyle Festival. £5000 which had been reserved for the football hut replacement had been returned to general funds as the project had not gone ahead. The year ended with a small surplus and the hall finances in a healthy condition. Charlie thanked Ian Macnabb for his forensic inspection of the accounts. Julie Southern proposed and Andrew Potter seconded a motion to approve the accounts which was carried unanimously.

David Robertson reported that following a review of the rates charged by other local halls, a new and simpler tariff had been introduced from 1 January 2022 which had introduced an hourly rate. He explained that the Hall would continue to support start up ventures with discounted or waived hiring fees.  The fees would be set at a rate to break even over the year. The important thing was that  the Hall was used. 2022 had started well with bookings ahead of expectation and close to pre-covid levels.  David noted the loss of Baby Ballet but the arrival of a Tuesday art class and the revival of the Mother and Toddler group which he hoped would be well supported. Since the start of the year the Hall had applied for further government restart grants amounting to £4400. He thanked the Parish Council for their help in securing funding for a new Yamaha digital piano. Turning to the future David explained that while the hall had no current projects, a long term ambition was to raise the roof of the hall so that it could be used for a wider range of activities including theatrical productions. In the meantime the Committee would continue to explore ways to make the Hall more energy efficient and reduce its carbon footprint.

David thanked the committee for their work over the year including Harriet Wharfe and Gordon Mitchell who had respectively resigned and retired.  Both had offered to continue to support the work of the Hall. David explained that the rest of the committee had agreed to stand for re-election. Asked to identify themselves, the committee stood and were re-elected unanimously.  From the floor William Knowles thanked the officers for their ongoing efforts which was greeted with applause.

Later in the evening the Froyle Festival Film commissioned by the Village Hall Committee and produced by Mark Lelliott and Nick Whines was shown to general satisfaction and some amusement. 

Nick Whines secretary@froylevillagehall.co.uk 23130

April News

Recently I was accused of liking meetings. What a reputation! After a lot of inner turmoil and some deep reflection I have had to conclude it was most likely, on balance, probably true. What follows is all the defence I can muster.

Committee meetings of Froyle Village Hall are rarely dull but the March meeting outperformed.

We welcomed Doug Johnson, Froyle’s resident energy expert, for a discussion about how we reduce our carbon foot print and more specifically how we could best use the power generated by our solar panels. Could it pre-heat the water entering our state-of-the-art boiler? We will investigate. Another suggestion was to replace the fluorescent tubes with LEDs. Again we will investigate. The savings will not be great but as someone once said every little helps. Could that unused electricity power a car charging point? Probably not as any car connected to the panels would take days to charge.

Following reports of anti-social behaviour in the car park, the question arose should we install CCTV? The committee was largely against this idea and a wide variety of objections were raised, not least that that the car park is owned by the Parish Council (PC)and any decisions about its security rests with them.

The big debate of the evening centred on a request from the PC. Could the workmen who will shortly be demolishing the football hut and removing the asbestos use the hall facilities as this would save the cost of providing their own? A cost that would be born by the PC. Here opinion was sharply divided. While some argued that of course we should do what we could to save the village money, others pointed out that we risked breaching our own child protection policy. Should we shut the hall for the period of the demolition, a little over a week? Could we reasonably hire the hall when workmen were marching in and out? Who would do the cleaning and who would pay. Then it got really controversial when the toilet habits of workmen came under scrutiny. Were these better or worse than the general population which boiled down to could their aim be relied upon or not. At which point there was a fierce defence of the working man, forced to use the inevitably disagreeable site portaloos and now being denied the comfort of the hall’s pristine lavatories. Minuting the meeting now became difficult and a member of the committee was heard to opine that the last thirty minutes were the most entertaining since he joined!

I like to think this was a good example of democracy in action. But it might also have been an outbreak of class war. Probably both.

So if you find that ‘Killing Eve’ has become tedious or that you can’t follow the plot of ‘Line of Duty’ join the Village Hall Committee for at least one good night out a month.

But there is more to report.

Plans for the Jubilee Big Lunch were discussed.

Renovating the pool table and tuning (or condemning) the piano were also discussed.

The Toddlers Group is restarting.

And we are hoping to have a new art class.

Plans are evolving to hold another Safari Supper in early September. In the past this has been a great success, providing an opportunity for residents new and old to meet up. If this idea gains traction then it might be an idea to defer the fete from September to its traditional spot in the second week of July. This will give more time for a fete committee chair to emerge.
The committee agreed the accounts for 2021 and these now go for inspection. They will be presented for approval to the Village Hall Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held at 7pm on 20 April. At the AGM the committee will stand down and seek re-election. Please do your best to attend. As encouragement we hope to premiere the Froyle Festival Film which Mark Lelliott and myself have been working on over the winter. It’s a chance to relive a very happy day in the history of our village.

And that’s just one meeting!

Finally on behalf of the village hall committee, can I thank and congratulate the No Wey Group for their successful opposition to the proposed incinerator. It was a magnificent effort. The beast may not yet be dead but it is sorely wounded.

Nick Whines

March News

The Committee has been discussing the budget for the current year. So far bookings have been disappointing. 50% down on the same period in 2019, the last comparable year. We have decided to assume this pattern will continue for the next six months returning to normal we hope in the autumn. We have therefore reduced our expected income accordingly. Our costs which include heating, lighting, insurance and general maintenance are also likely to rise during the year particularly gas and electricity. Our major project for the year is of course the Jubilee celebration for which we have budgeted £4000. We have placed in our reserves £1000 to build up a fund to pay for refurbishing the floor when it next becomes necessary in three of four years time. Overall the hall will operate at a loss this year which is not our normal practice of attempting to break even. However this needs to be balanced against the improvements we made to the hall during lockdown and the various government grants  we received while closed which has ensured that the hall remains in good financial health.

We plan to hold our Annual General Meeting on 20 April along with the Annual Parish Meeting at which we will present our accounts for 2021 for approval. The Committee will stand down and seek re-election. I am sure attendance will be much better than last year. More information about the AGM in next month’s Magazine.

We do need to increase the usage of the hall and ideas from residents of how we might do this would be very welcome. We are hoping that the Mothers and Toddlers Group will resume in the spring. I hear talk of more art classes. But what else? The hall is well suited to children’s parties so if you are a member of a PTA do please pass on details of our website at www.froylevillagehall.co.uk.

We are looking at bringing the pool table back into operation. We also have a table tennis table which has lurked unloved at the back of the container for many years. Would anyone be in interested in making use of this? We plan to support Alton Foodbank by having a permanent container in the hall into which contributions can be placed at any time when the hall is open. See page xx for more details.

The village hall continues to operate an email list which is used to alert residents to events, cries for help etc. To join the list email David Robertson  darinfroyle@aol.com The list is operated in strict compliance with data protection rules. You will not be bombarded with messages.

Although lockdown restrictions are coming to an end there does seem to be a general reluctance to venture forth. I am more guilty than most. Attendance at the Meeting Place for example has declined and this is a shame. If you have not yet been to the Meeting Place on a Friday morning and enjoyed the company and the excellent cake that is served there, do give it try. The more people attend the more people will attend but sadly the reverse is also true. Some effort is going to be needed to rebuild the community spirit for which Froyle  has a fine reputation. It would be good to think that a younger generation of residents are standing by and ready and willing to make things happen. The Jubilee celebration will be a test. Lots of volunteers are going to be needed for the event to be a success and to prevent the organisers wearing themselves to a frazzle. The following weekend we have Froyle Open Gardens when more help will be needed. It’s certainly a daunting prospect.  Don’t wait to be asked. Step forward!

February News

2021 ended on a high note for the committee with a festive supper in the Hen and Chicken to which I was able to contribute some prize money for coming 4th in a photographic competition run by one of the village hall insurance companies. Yes, I know it sound like one of those ‘Chance’ cards you get when playing Monopoly. I of course apologised for not coming first which would have earned the hall ten times more. 

The new year has started less well. A Saturday evening party left the worse mess that we have seen for years. It is so disappointing. Cindy keeps the hall looking bright and sparklingly clean. It must have been awful for her to see her work so completely undone. There was some evidence that an attempt had been made to clear up but it had in fact only made matters worse spreading grease and stickiness everywhere. The condition of the floor was such that several days later members of the Parish Council were literally stuck to the floor. It may well need expensive professional cleaning.

We have explained to the hirer the problem they have created and retained their deposit of £50 which normally we are very loath to do. We have now decided to increase the deposit for parties for non-residents to £100. The rule is very simple: leave the hall as you found it or better. If you think you might make a bit of a mess. Book time the next day to come back and sort it out.

The Parish Council has asked the committee if they would consider providing an externally accessible toilet within the foot print of the village hall. A plan was provided to suggest how this might be achieved. Although several members of the committee felt a new loo on the recreation ground would be a good idea, the majority questioned the need and raised practical considerations about how it would be managed and maintained.

On the narrower question of incorporating a new loo into the hall, there was unanimous objection on the grounds that the was insufficient room to build it to Building Regulation standards, it would result in a diminution and downgrading of the existing facilities, the outward opening doors would be dangerous to passers by and that viewed from the car park it would be unsightly. Although the project had not been costed it did not appear cost-effective.

The last week of January was National Village Halls Week which is designed to draw attention to the role of community halls. No, I don’t expect you noticed. Last year after we failed to celebrate the event I thought it might be an idea to purchase a banner which we could hang over the front of the hall so you didn’t miss the opportunity to take part. But again I forgot. However it is important to remember that there are at least 10,000 halls across the country providing a focus for community activity, each one with a hard working committee keeping it going. This year we are being encouraged to broaden our support base so please read on. 

The committee have been discussing arrangements for the Platinum Jubilee  which will be celebrated over the long weekend 2-5 June. A sub-committee has been set up to organise the BIG LUNCH that will take place on the Sunday that will be open to all Froyle residents and their families. Given the experience of the Froyle Festival more organisers and helpers will be needed. If you would like to join in please contact Karen Potter or any member of the committee. Each of the following activities or events are being promoted nationally. We will need someone to make them happen in Froyle. Might it be you?

Beacons will be lit across the country on the evening of 2 June. A vast amount of information can be found here: https://www.queensjubileebeacons.com/guide

Inside the hall we hope to show all the broadcast state events on our large screen.

The Platinum Pudding: given Froyle’s reputation for cake baking I hope some residents will enter this competition or perhaps someone can organise  a Froyle version which can be eaten at the BIG LUNCH. See https://www.fortnumandmason.com/platinum-pudding 

The Green Canopy is a tree planting initiative. Should we plant a Jubilee tree? Or is there somewhere in the village for a Jubilee Grove. More on this here: https://queensgreencanopy.org/get-involved/communities-and-groups/

I am sure nobody really thinks I am a monarchist, but can we come up with a permanent reminder not only of this unprecedented Jubilee but of the Queen’s long reign. I look hopefully towards the football hut and ponder.

Finally evidence that someone does read my monthly missive. In the January Magazine I wrote about the problem of reducing the hall’s carbon footprint. Step forward Doug Johnson who lives in Lower Froyle. He has kindly offered to have a look and see how we can improve.

January News

A very happy New Year to everybody. Let’s hope it’s a good one: a group of volunteers is progressing plans for the Jubilee Celebration in June and some dedicated gardeners are already preparing for Open Gardens the following week. If ‘the usual suspects’ haven’t exhausted ourselves,  July may see the return of Froyle Fete. Covid permitting, the Committee must find a way of restarting our film shows and more generally increase the useage of the Hall

Working with the Parish Council, another important challenge for the coming year is to think about what additional facilities the Hall can offer residents. At the AGM we considered a glazed roof over part of the patio or, less ambitiously, an awning. Could we find a way of adding another loo accessible from the outside? Is there a more productive use for the space at the far end of the patio outside the storeroom? And what about activities inside the hall. In the past we have considered investing in a bowling alley. Do we need a better piano? There must be enough musicians in the village to form a scratch band. Would anyone enjoy a table tennis evening? Given the enthusiastic dancing which was such a feature of the Froyle Festival, what about a monthly hop. At least we wouldn’t need the heating on.  The Village Hall Committee is always ready to support and encourage residents who have ideas for new uses and groups of users for the hall. Despite Covid and partly because of it, 2021 has been a very busy year for all those who help run the hall. We are pleased that we have recruited some younger residents to help share the load but we will need more volunteers if the Hall is to remain at the heart of the community. 

I write this in early December with Storm Barra propelling sheets  of rain against the house. Yet again I ring our roofing contractor and explain that the flashing on the Village Hall solar panels has come adrift and water is leaking through the ceiling and forming a puddle on the floor. They are sympathetic as usual but I sense we are no longer a priority. I am promised a call back as I was last time. I have begun to doubt the wisdom of buying high tech integrated panels which form part of the roof rather than the more conventional ones which are installed above the roof tiles. Aesthetically they look much better but if they leak ….. Perhaps this is why the contractor no longer fits them. I make a call to the National Federation of Roofing Contractors who for 125 years have been maintaining standards in the roofing business. However no one in their large and extensive membership combines expertise in roofing and solar and who might be able to offer assistance. Given that every existing and yet-to-be-built south facing roof has the potential to help mitegate the impact of climate change, I find this extraordinary.  But then I hear about increased workloads, shortage of skilled labour, scarcity of materials and escalating costs. For the time being the only option appears to be a strategically placed bucket.

2022 is also the year when the Village Hall Committee along with everybody else is committed to finding ways to reduce our so called carbon foot print. In other words we must try to make the hall more energy efficient. We have made a good start. The walls and the ceiling are insulated. We have installed LED lighting. We have double glazing. Our boiler is relatively new. However our leaking solar panels while earning an income do little to lower our fuel consumption. The problem is that on a sunny day when we are generating lots of electricity we need neither heating or lighting so the electricity is just fed back into the grid. We could install a battery. But the cost is very high, the technology is likely to change and finding impartial expert advice on what to buy very difficult. We should certainly investigate air or ground source heat pumps which would use the electricity we generate. Such systems operate at much lower temperatures than our existing gas central heating so we would need a much greater surface area of radiator. Ideally we would dig up the floor and lay heating pipes underneath. Can you imagine the cost, the disruption and ongoing maintenance? But we will have to bite this bullet when we are no longer able to replace the gas boiler. Perhaps some new technology will be invented which provides an easier solution. Let’s hope so.

Meanwhile we have a relatively sophisticated system for controlling the heating, at least I thought so initially. Over the internet from the comfort of my study I can set the heating to turn on and off according to the useage of the hall. But the erratic use of the hall creates problems. If the hall is not used for several days and the heating is off it gets progressively colder. To then raise the temperature to say 20 degrees for a booking, the heat has to be turned on the day before to avoid overtaxing the boiler. I have more or less to guess at the offset. What puzzles me is why the system with a bit of artificail intelligence can’t work it out for me as it knows when I want the temperature to be 20 degrees. It knows the temperature in the hall and outside the hall. (We have weather compensation!) It knows or should be able to work out the heat loss of the hall and the solar gain when the sun shines. There should be an algorithm to calculate it all, but as far as I am aware there isn’t. So we compromise. When the heating is off I set the temperature so it doesn’t drop below 16 degrees and when it is on it shouldn’t rise above 20 degrees. This means that when you arrive for your booking  the hall should be warm on all but the coldest days. It also explains why the hall will be found to be fairly warm on days when it is not in use. We are trying hard not to contibute more to global warming than we feel we have to. Comment welcome particularly from heating engineers.

As I suggested above, one conclusion is that during 2022 we should try to increase the useage of the hall. To that end we have revised the tariff to permit shorter bookings for which there is some demand. We have slightly increased the cost of weekend hire. We have done out best to keep down the cost for residents.  

November News

NEWS FROM THE VILLAGE HALL

It’s been a busy month at the Village Hall. The Froyle Quiz returned with ten unlikely named teams battling for top honours: Nerd Immunity, Not So Great Expectations, Frank Einsteins among others. The evening began with cheese and biscuits, pork pies, pickles and cheesy anagrams which defeated all but a few (resolute cubed log?). Questions on art, sport and geography followed and were nicely judged to rack the brains. A round on initials and acronyms caused the most difficulty (What does ‘FLOTUS’ stand for?). Questions on cities were the easiest (15 miles south of the equator?) and curiously that’s when six teams played their joker doubling their score for that round. At half time Six No Trumps were ahead by a single point. Following further delicious refreshments questions on science, food and drink, and musical gardens followed maintaining a brisk pace. In the last couple of rounds Slower Froyle pushed through to a clear and convincing victory. So well done the Carrs, the Pickerings, Sheila Cottington and Ian Whitmore. Solace perhaps for losing the tug of war at the Festival. Upper Froyle may have the brawn but the brains ……? 

Thanks are due to Gordon and Faith for organising such a jolly evening which they ran so professionally and to Susie, Jo, Caroline, Charlie and others who kept everybody well fed and watered.  And thank you for everyone who took part. The event raised a total of £450 for Cardiac Rehab in Alton. Traditionally the winners of the Quiz organise it for the following year. However instead, lots (jokers) were drawn and out of the hat came The Beech Boys and Girls. (And that’s not a spelling error Ed.) 

Next came the November the fifth bonfire party. In light of a more than usually careful reading of the small print of our insurance policy we made some decisions: to limit the number of those attending by not advertising the event, to limit the size of the bonfire and once the event is over to keep watch over the fire until the morning. As a result we had to stop the collection of garden waste much earlier than usual and we apologise to any families who were inconvenienced by this. This year there was a shortage of pallets and you need pallets to create enough heat to dry out and burn the brush. While searching for pallets we met up with Powerup Events a company operating out of the West End Farm industrial estate who offered to set up at cost lighting and a PA system for the event. This they did and it made a huge improvement as everybody could see each other. At six o clock we lit the bonfire with just two visitors present but over the next hour as the fire blazed into life more and more people materialised (despite almost any promotion) and the queues for mulled wine, draught bitter, hot chocolate, burgers and sausages grew ever longer. Meanwhile a vast number of children descended on the playground making full use of all the equipment. At seven the lights were turned off, the record crowd counted down and the first firework burst overhead. The display was short but spectacular and the pyrotechnicians deserved the round of applause which followed. The lights came on and the last of the food and drink were consumed. It was a very happy event and much appreciated by those who came and who donated nearly £900 into the bucket collection ‘for next years fireworks’. Normally we plan to break even but this year we made a loss of  approximately £400 as a result of an increase in our costs. We think this was money well spent. Thanks are due to the large number of people who made the event so successful including Mick, from Tom Porter’s farming team, who operated the high loader used to build the bonfire and the night watchman. It may interest you to know the fire was still burning more than a week later. However, by the time you read this the ash will have been cleared, all the nails and screw removed and the ground reseeded. 

For the last few years the Village Hall has hosted and supported a Baby and Toddler Group organised very successfully by Molly Scotton. Molly has now decided she must step down. We are very grateful for all the work she has done for both the hall and the village and pleased that she intends to remain on the committee and will continue as out Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Officer.  

Molly writes:

After a fantastic 3 1/2 years, I have decided it is time to move on from running Baby and Toddler Group. It has been a time filled with lots of fun, paint, messy play, singing, parachutes, climbing and socialising. During this time we have grown the group to have over 200 families, of which about 40 attend each week. We have massively increased the selection of toys during my time here. Brilliant memories have been made, for myself, for the mums, dads, nannies and grandparents, and of course for the children. 

I am looking for people to continue my role from January 2022. I will be available to help and support you during the transition. Please contact me on the Froyle Baby and Toddler Group Facebook Page or email me at mollyescotton@gmail.com if you are interested in this role – it’s a lot of work but very rewarding and a great way to get to know more people around the village. 

I am looking forward to the next chapter of Froyle Baby and Toddler group, and to continue being heavily involved in the village hall. Thank you all for letting me have this opportunity, I’ve loved every second!

We very much hope someone will step forward to continue the work of the Baby and Toddler Group.

The stain on one of the ceiling tiles which was noticed at the AGM  turns out to be rather more serious than we had hoped. It looks as if the flashing round one of the solar panels has failed and is allowing rain to get through the roof. If you spot a problem in the hall or have a suggestion for an improvement please do let me know or any member of the committee.

Finally a plea to all hall users: if something gets broken or damaged, please report it. We know that accidents happen and are usually very understanding provided we are told. Please take your rubbish with you. We simply do not have enough bin capacity if you don’t. Before you leave ensure that the floor is swept, tables, chairs and other equipment are stacked neatly, all windows and doors are shut, and all lights turned off. Then double lock the front door and return the key to the safe. 

Having said that, the speed and efficiency with which the hall was tidied up after both the Quiz and the Bonfire was impressive. A great example of many hands making light work. Thank you.

October News

NEWS FROM THE VILLAGE HALL

It started life as the PBPT party (Post Brexit/Pandemic/Trump). Then it morphed into the Frolic. Finally it burst upon us as the Froyle Festival. It was a brilliant success and will be long remembered. It achieved its principle aim of bringing the village back together after a period of isolation in which we drifted apart. Thanks are due to Ian Whitmore and his organising committee who ensured a good time was had by all. Thanks also to the foot soldiers who on the day carted and carried, put up and took down, flipped the burgers and served the teas, organised the races and manned the stalls. Most impressive after so much labour was the dancing which was energetic and uninhibited. I wonder if there is a demand for a village hall country dance club? Clearly there is plenty of steam which needs to be let off. And what better way to do it!

Fired up by the Festival plans are now afoot to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on Sunday 5 June 2022 by taking part in the nationwide ‘Big Lunch’. We have already rebooked the marquee and have an option on a hog roast. The event will be open to all so you can bring friends and family. Ideas and suggestions as to how we celebrate are welcome. Talk to any member of the village hall committee.

Now for something really serious.

Froyle Village Hall is a registered charity whose objectives are to provide, manage and maintain a community hall for all the residents of Froyle. It is now more than 2 years since the hall held an Annual General Meeting (AGM) as required by its constitution. This will now take place on Wednesday 13 October at 7.30pm in the hall. Drinks and nibbles will be served from 7.00 pm to get you in the mood. There will be a chance to examine the accounts, hear a report on recent activities and ask questions. The whole committee will then stand down and will seek re-election. (If no one comes there will be no committee and therefore no hall.)

After the formal part of the meeting is over which should only take twenty minutes at the most, there will be an open discussion on the future of the hall. How can we lower its carbon footprint and make it more sustainable? How can we increase the use of the hall while ensuring that it is available to residents? Have we got the charging structure right? What other activities and events should the hall be arranging. This is your opportunity to have your say, contribute to the future of the hall and help ensure that it remains at the heart of the community.

Following last year’s successful online Quiz, the Froyle Quiz returns on 30 October. Teams of six are sought to do battle.

The next Film Night remains under discussion. Suggestions for a suitable film as always very welcome.

It is also nearly two years since we held our last bonfire party. This will take place on Friday 5 November on the recreation ground. Doors open at 6pm with fireworks at approximately 7pm depending on the state of the bonfire. As usual the BBQ will be in action so there will plenty to eat. Beer, mulled wine and soft drinks will be served. Sweets and glow sticks on sale for the children. All at reasonable prices. Admission is free but there will be a bucket collection to help fund next year’s party. Your safety is our number one priority. Please do not bring your own fireworks including sparklers. Do not go inside the safety cordon or allow children to do so. Park carefully and considerately. Bring a torch and if possible wear high visibility coats.

Contributions to the bonfire are welcome but please only from Monday 4 October. Please ensure that pallets, timber and brush/garden waste are kept separate and piled as neatly as possible on the Rec between the gate and the playground. We shall install a combination lock for the gate as previously and the code will be available from committee officers, David Robertson 520820, Nick Whines 23130 and Charlie Findlay 22109. Please scramble the lock when you leave.

Please do not leave anything in front of the gate which will obstruct access. This happened last time, took ages to clear and will be reported as fly tipping!

Please do not bring plastic or metal or anything which will not burn and which will then have to be taken to the tip. This includes heavy tree trunks.

If you are free, do come and help build the bonfire on Sunday 31 October starting at 9.30 am. It usually takes no more than a couple of hours. Wear gloves and boots with thick soles to protect you from splinters and nails and don’t try to carry too much. Safety first!

Help will also be appreciated on the morning of 6 November to rake the bonfire together and to ensure it all burns. Once the fire is out help is also needed to barrow away the ash and collect all the nails using our magnet on wheels.

Bonfire Night recalls an attempt in 1605 to blow up Parliament, together with the King, the Lords and Bishops and all the MPs. Sadly the decline in history teaching in schools means that this event may have passed most children by. Perhaps they could be told the story and invited to produce a Guy to adorn the bonfire. Small prize for the best guy delivered to the hall by 5.30pm on the day. Given the creativity on display in the Froyle Ark, my expectations are high. When I was a child it was always Mr Harold Macmillan on the top of our community fire, not that this is intended to give you ideas.

Nick Whines
secretary@froylevillagehall.co.uk

September News

NEWS FROM THE VILLAGE HALL

Slowly the Village Hall is coming back to life with the removal of most restrictions. We urge users to continue to act safely, to use the hand wash provided and ensure good ventilation. For the time being we are limiting numbers to fifty.

With increased usage old problems return. Please take your rubbish with you at the end of a session. The bin capacity just cannot cope if you don’t. The four WCs all empty into a single pipe which easily gets blocked if users try to flush away inappropriate objects. As a result effluent from the gents backs up into the ladies and visa versa. I have spent an hour or so recently observing these interactions and trying to decide whether or not to call a plumber or reach for a plunger. I would much prefer not to. So would Cindy who maintains the toilets immaculately. Please do not abuse the loos. Of course no resident of Froyle would dream of doing such a thing!

Recently a hot water urn was left steaming which resulted in several cupboard doors being damaged and had to be replaced. Accidents happen we understand. Thanks are due to Royston who undertook the repairs and who has agreed to PAT test all the hall’s electrical appliances.

Having done good service for over ten years the ovens require maintenance. We await spare parts and a big bill. In the meantime the ovens can be used but not the cleaning cycle.

Outside the Hall, the Committee has hosted a bottle bank for many years which periodically EHDC’s contractors empty. Hampshire County Council have recently closed the bottle bank at Alton tip. As a result use of the Froyle bank has increased. This has coincided with problems with the contractor who have been unable to visit. As a result at the time of writing the bins are over flowing and a large number of bottles have been left on the ground some of which have got broken. Members of the committee have done their best to prevent further dumping but the general public are not easily dissuaded and glass continues to arrive. The matter has been raised with both our District and County Councillor. The question therefore arises as whether we need the bottle bank. Should we ask for its removal given that the monthly doorstep collection continues efficiently? However should the doorstep collection be reduced we may miss the bottle bank particularly those households who (how can I say this delicately) create a lot of glass.

UPDATE The bottles were all removed within 3 hours of a call to the office of the Leader of EHDC. There is a moral there somewhere.

The upside of the pandemic has been the inflow of government grants into the Hall’s coffers. Most recently £8,000 towards the costs of reopening. The Committee has agreed to contribute £6000 to the Froyle Festival. The Festival is being organised by a joint Village Hall/Fete sub- committee and we thank its members for all the hard work which is going into what promises to be a memorable event. The Village Hall Committee is grateful to the PC for acting as banker to the Festival and thereby saving the VAT which would otherwise be incurred.

The annual Froyle Quiz is planned for Saturday 30 October and we hope to hold a film night in November. Suggestions for a suitable title welcome. More next month.

We have not held an AGM for several years and feel that we should. Please keep Wednesday 13 October free for this exciting event. There will be wine and nibbles and an opportunity to discuss future activities and projects at the hall.

Our accounts for 2020 are available here.

The Committee have been comparing their charges with neighbouring halls to ensure we are competitive and get the right balance between making the hall available to residents as cheaply as possible and being realistic about what we can charge commercially. It seems clear that we need an hourly rate so people can book the hall for short periods but this has to be balanced against the cost of heating the hall.

Looking much further into the future, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will take place over the weekend 4/5 June 2022. The Committee has secured an option on a large marquee so whatever the weather we can celebrate in the dry. Just what form that celebration will take has yet to be decided so please let us have your ideas.

It’s great to see how a much younger generation of residents are now getting involved in organising the community life of the village. That promises well for the future. Is that light I see at the end of the tunnel? Better than the view down the loo.

Nick Whines
Hon Sec
Froyle Village Hall
secretary@froylevillagehall.co.uk

July News

Over the half term week the village hall floor was scrubbed and recoated and now looks very smart. Please do not use sticky tape to mark the floor as it destroys the surface. Similarly when moving furniture please lift do not drag! When stacking chairs please be careful of the newly painted walls. Having spent recent months redecorating the hall we are more than usually house proud!

The hall is lucky to have a Granwood floor. It is made from special blocks containing a combination of sawdust, cement and fillers which are then heavily compressed into shape with the desired density. They are then totally saturated in linseed oil. Next, the blocks are stacked to allow them to ‘mature’. It was found that once this had happened, the product unlike wood, was almost entirely free from expansion and contraction, it was fire and damp resistant, didn’t allow dry rot to form, was proof against vermin and insect attack, as well as being warm, resilient and extremely durable.

The blocks were invented early in the 20th century and the company went from strength to strength providing flooring for sports halls around the world. One hall burnt down but the floor emerged unscathed. Another was flooded to a depth of six feet. Again the floor survive intact. The weakness of the system was that it required the correct maintenance. If the wrong chemicals were used whole floors could be totally ruined.

So the floor is well worth looking after. We plan to buy some replacement blocks before the supply runs out. Sadly they are no longer manufactured.

Talking of blocks, we were pleased to host the Froyle Open Garden teas at the beginning of June and the loos coped well with the unusually heavy use. However the hall drainage system is far from perfect and can jam up quite easily. If you use the facilities please do not put anything down the WCs which might cause a problem.

Open Gardens brought to light the fact that an attempt had been made to break into the village hall container. An angle grinder had been used to cut of the padlock bolt. Fortunately the would be burglars still could not shift the padlock itself and had to retreat empty handed. Had they managed to get inside their disappointment would have been even more intense when confronted with the contents: the tug-of-war rope, a lot of bollards and an artificial Christmas tree. Had they broken into the football hut which would have been a great deal easier, they would have at least found a lifetime’s supply of reading matter and among the bric a brac and jumble, some summer frocks.

Talking of summer the flower bed outside the Hall is starting to show some real class. This is due in no small part to committee member Gordon and other half Faith who planted it up a couple of years ago.  But recently they have been going beyond the call of duty by doing some much needed weeding, which is very kind of them. So if anybody else would be prepared to pull up the odd weed on a regular basis, we (and they) would be very grateful.

I had hoped that by the time you read this all Covid 19 restrictions would have been lifted and the hall would be back to normal. However it was not to be. An increase in Covid cases has led the government to continue existing regulations until 19 July. We apologise that as a result we may have to cancel some bookings.

Once we can reopen fully it would be good to see the use of the hall increase. If you have ideas for future activities or events do make contact. Full details of the facilities and hire charges can be found on the new website at www.froylevillagehall.co.uk

For information about the proposed Froyle Frolic please see page X.

Nick Whines
secretary@froylevillagehall.co.uk

June News

Very gradually the hall is coming back to life but it is a slow process as restrictions are gradually lifted. Yoga classes have now resumed on a Thursday evening. The Mothers and Baby group thrives with three sessions a week although this may reduce after half term. The Meeting Place will soon be able to meet inside but still socially distanced.

On 6 May the hall hosted a masked and socially distanced polling station. If you voted you were probably too busy making your decision to notice the redecoration and the freshly cleaned and rehung curtains. I fussed about making sure the election officers were keeping warm (15 hours is a long sit with the doors open). By the time I left I had completely forgotten who I voted for!

To complete the renovation, over the week end 29-30 May the floor will be resurfaced. The hall will therefore be closed from midday on the Saturday to the following Wednesday to allow the floor time to cure. Thanks are due to Cllr Costigan for a grant of £300 towards the cost of the operation.

After waiting patiently for six months, £500 towards the cost of the new dishwasher arrived in our account from the EHDC 106 Developer Contribution Fund. Every little helps. Details of the halls accounts for 2020 can be found on page xx.

Also on the evening of 29 May the Posh Nosh catering van will be in attendance outside the hall. More information on page XX.

The PLCFE (post lock-down celebratory Froyle event) has been restyled the Froyle Frolic. A sub-committee has been established and will meet shortly. More next month!

Nick Whines
secretary@froylevillagehall.co.uk