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. 

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