Village Hall Chair’s Annual Report

Abbots Morton village hall continues to be a well-used activity venue.

Yoga classes have become very popular and our hall is perfect for them. We now have Hay Yoga on Tuesday and Thursday mornings; Hatha Yoga on Tuesday evenings and we’ve also had two Hay Yoga workshops on Saturdays so far this year.

Pilates classes on Monday nights have now been running for three years; also for four years the JUMP ballet classes for children after school on Wednesdays. These activities have brought us hugely valuable income streams.

Bookings for parties and wedding receptions continue strongly. The hall looks amazingly special when dressed up for these events due to the high standards of maintenance and cleanliness that “the team” provide… as well as our outstanding facilities above and beyond other halls in the area. Five star reviews keep coming in for us on the Halls for Hire website.

Our modern kitchen facilities are now well established and have proved very popular, winning the approval of professional caterers at many of the events this year.

Free wifi in the hall, installed this year, adds even more rental potential, extending our potential user market and we thank the Parish Council for their contribution towards the cost.

The latest addition to our facilities, just last month, is a new projector unit and a large screen which was kindly donated in memory of Val Duck by Peter and his family. We send them our warmest condolences and many thanks. The family bought the equipment and installed it in the village hall on 26th February to enable a live relay of Val’s funeral service from St Peter’s Church. More than 100 mourners filled the church and 50 more watched in the village hall.

As a committee we have had regular fund raising events this year, we continue to operate our policy of a 50:50 split of the proceeds with a chosen charity.
This year we held another Tea for Tinnitus, a Quiz Night for Acorns Children’s Hospice and Xmas Fayre for Alzheimers Research UK. I would like to thank everyone who helped out in some way for making these events a great success. In total, we raised £445 for the charities and the same for AMVH.

Unfortunately, not all initiatives were successful. The proposed quarterly “Popup” restaurant did not go ahead due to opposition from some residents with concerns about parking and unfounded fears of potential an influx of outsiders into the village. As a committee we felt this was a great shame, this was an initiative try to raise some community spirit and tackle the rising issue of loneliness within the community. Indeed at the time of cancellation all bookings were from AM residents.

Support from local residents has continued to grow and we look forward to further involvement by residents in the coming year. One easy way to help. If you shop online, is to register with EasyFundraising and name Abbots Morton Village hall as the cause you want to support. Retailers pay a small percentage of your spend to our account and to date our 23 EasyFundraisers have raised £674.

Amazon have also started making donations through Amazon Smile… and they’ve sent us £5.70.

New energy-efficient lights have now been installed in the village hall. The old fluorescent strip lights throughout the building have been replaced with LED strips which will bring electricity savings of around 70%. We are grateful to Wychavon District Council for a grant of £1,359 through its New Homes Bonus scheme and to Abbots Morton Parish Council for a grant of £500. We would also like to thank County Councillor Anthony Hopkins for a £300 grant from his Divisional Fund and to our village hall committee member, Sarah Dykes for her gift of £150 towards the project which cost a total of £2,653. The village hall funds contributed £344.50.

Your support for the village hall brings in essential income that we put to good use in maintaining and improving the fabric of the building. In July we employed WomenBuild to repaint all the wooden window frames and the woodwork at the main entrance.

Regular servicing of necessary systems and safety tests continue in their timely fashion.

Our next project is to replace the outdated and inefficient heating system in the hall. It’s a major project and research is currently underway to make sure we make the best choice.

We are delighted to have a new trustee. We welcome Pat Willingale to our Village Hall Committee. Pat lives with her husband Martin at Chestnut Cottage in the village and was keen to become involved in the community. Pat’s infectious enthusiasm and energy will be greatly appreciated. And we expect in a few minutes time to also appoint the aforementioned Martin Willingale as a representative of the Parish Council. Husband and wife teams can be very effective.

We are eternally grateful to Sarah Dykes for taking on the role as Treasurer. With her usual efficiency, Sarah has kept our accounts fully auditable, with regular spreadsheets and cost awareness projects and updates. Many thanks again to Tim Jones, our auditor, for the end of year audit/ balance.

As always the un-fading commitment of the Pembertons to the success of the VH does not go un-noted. Colin takes on more than his fair share as PRO and Bookings Officer, regularly showing our facilities to potential hirers, locking and unlocking at events. Lynne, as Secretary, keeps us up to date and informed of local and UK VH initiatives, making sure we meet our obligations.
We would like to say a big Thank You to Antony Bunce, who has stepped down from the village hall committee because of other commitments. We’re grateful for Antony’s insights and particularly all his work in bringing us Band Nights and Indian Summers.

Thanks also go to a former resident Phil Farmiloe who, although now living in Abberton, continues to pay for the springtime cutting of our main hedge. Thank you Phil.

A week ago we put up notices urging all users to go straight to the washrooms on entry and thoroughly wash their hands… and similarly wash hands before leaving. The Hirers are responsible for using clinical-grade wipes we’ve provided to wipe down all door and toilet handles before they leave. This is a responsible approach which should leave the hall in a condition that the next users would like to see.

It’s been another year of progress, quality upgrading and financial stability and we look forward to even more success and use of the hall in 2020.

Melanie Clarke, Chair, AMVH
12th March 2020

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