Chairman’s Report Y/E March 2020
Firstly, a big, big thanks to all the trustees and committee members for their invaluable contribution to the running of the Hall and Grounds.
The ups and downs of 2019—2020
The year started off badly with the break-in at the Hall and the resulting damage caused by some youngsters. Fortunately, we were insured but I would like to again thank all those villagers who responded to an emergency Facebook announcement. Over 30 villagers turned up at the hall within an hour of the break-in to help clear up the mess.
Film night revenues have continued to be down, mainly due to the growth of films on-demand and the expansion of on-line film channels,
It has been a very good year for external hirers thanks to Laura’s excellent work. Unfortunately, due to coronavirus we lost the village quiz night and the income it would have produced.
We received a lovely letter of appreciation from the Bull Dog event organiser, stating how wonderful the villagers were in attending the show and that the facilities were second to none.
John West continued to look for savings from suppliers of heating oil, electricity, refuse collections etc. and that quest has now become ever so more important and is an on going task.
Our treasurer announced that she had to step down and Ian Buckingham volunteered to step into the breach until we could find a replacement. In fact, he continued for some eight months or so and totally reorganised the financial reports and more importantly the invoicing to hirers. His commitment to the finances resulted in improved cash flow and fewer arguments with hirers. His wise council will be truly missed.
Health & Safety rules have meant that John King has been inundated with forms and inspections to all parts of the grounds so that we could sign off our responsibilities. PAT testing of the whole electrical system was carried out successfully.
The standby generator issues have finally been resolved. The system has been tested numerous times thanks to John West but we hope it will not be needed.
The outdoor gym opened in May and has been used by villagers of all ages. The PC and the Village Hall both contributed £3k each with the balance arising from grants.
We have received more positive comments regarding the look of the grounds A lot of excess soil and rubbish has been removed or burnt. The sports field’s surface is much improved and the football club is hoping to benefit from an FA grant to weed and feed the playing area in 2021.
You will note that the financials are published in this issue of Outlook. We had budgeted for a break even scenario but due to cancellations of some events, the need to purchase a dishwasher as a replacement to the 19 year old one in the kitchen and new curtain rails, the anticipated breakeven resulted in a loss of £7k. The financials show a profit of £6k but you will I hope see the note on the accounts. The £14k difference is for grants already given to us from The Lottery and The Grange, for the proposed extension to the Hall. We are hoping that it will be constructed in the new financial year subject to us receiving a final grant of £25k from SDNP.
Our plans for 2020—2021: a year of uncertainty
Our planned budget for the year has basically gone out the window due to the coronavirus. We have had to cancel so many fund raising events and together with outside hirers cancelling weddings, dog shows, fete donations bridge days etc. that the trustees have had to accept that there is unlikely to be much income until the new calendar year and this too may be very optimistic. If any villagers have suggestions for money raising ideas not involving the use of the hall, please let us know.
We have decided to mothball the hall and grounds and will look to volunteers to offer their services in keeping the place clean and tidy We have spent over £300 in providing covid 19 signs, direction signs and sanitising stations.
The only capital expenditure we have agreed to is for the gang mower to be professionally serviced, the balance of the curtain rails to be replaced and for the hall to be compliant with sanitiser stations and signs around the building The grounds themselves can be used by all and sundry, but we will make a charge to any organisation using the grounds for profit.
We are still hoping to extend the Hall but in this current financial year, subject to our receiving a grant from SDNP. We have already raised £27,500 in grants and pledges.
Barry Norris did a great job in keeping the numbers of lottery club members hovering around 180. Amanda Spence has kindly offered her services in trying to attract more householders to subscribe to this vital source of income for the Hall. We would like to have 200 members by the end of the year.
At long last we have cleared out the loft and have managed to get all the clutter removed by a commercial house clearance company. Some items from the drama society are now going to be sold via an auction.
Finally, I am sad to report that Georgina Holloway is standing down from the committee. She has been invaluable in communicating with external hirers using above-the-line advertising as well as social media. Her business acumen has been greatly appreciated.
Whatever happens in the coming months, the committee is determined to take whatever actions may be necessary to keep the hall and ground in good condition. We look to support of the village to help us in these difficult times.