23rd May 2021
As a result of the Covid 19 Pandemic things at Bridestowe Village Hall have been somewhat quiet with little to report since the last AGM – partly this has been due to the long periods of ‘lock down’ which had curtailed large events and it had only been possible to accommodate much smaller events e.g. toddler groups, small business meetings. Many of our regular hirers have not been to the Hall since early March 2020 and are unlikely to return before September 2021 at the earliest.
Fortunately the Hall has been eligible for a small number of Government Grants and this has really helped cover running costs and paid for some ongoing maintenance issues.
During the last twelve months the Trustees and Committee members have joined forces to make sure that the Hall has been looked after and kept secure and Covid 19 compliant. This included carrying out a full risk assessment and compiling a cleaning schedule for Hirers to follow. This was all done in line with ACRE guidelines.
A weekly rota was set up in late March 2020. Each Trustee took responsibility for checking the Hall twice in the week when they were on the rota, cleaning and tidying the Hall and making sure that the Hirers were complying with the Covid-19 guidelines which included a full cleaning regime. Overall this worked very well with Hirers rising to the challenge and doing their bit to keep the Hall clean and safe. Appropriate notices were put up and hand wash/paper towels/new hand dryers were installed.
The monthly Committee meetings continued via Zoom and this made sure that we all stayed in contact and any issues affecting the Hall were reviewed regularly and action taken where necessary. Finances were reviewed on an ongoing basis and a recent thorough cash flow forecast indicates that the Hall is in a reasonable financial position. This should enable the Hall to keep going until we return to a more normal operating position. Between March 23rd 2020 and before the Hall reopened on July 4th 2020 the whole Hall was deep cleaned and the Margaret Moore Suite and Small Meeting Room were locked to minimise the work required to keep the place clean.
On 4th July 2020 the Hall was reopened and some regular hirers returned. There were a small number of events that included small children’s parties and small wedding parties. There were also two new hirers who have become regular users of the Hall.
Following the second lock down the Trustees continued with the weekly cleaning and maintenance rota and monthly checks. The Trustees were pleased to welcome back the Toddler Group at Treetops in March 2021.
The fire doors in the Margaret Moore Suite were damaged in high winds and although the Hall Insurance Policy covered some of the costs of replacement, a further sum of c £2,000 was also needed to cover the outlay to replace the doors.
During the last 12 months various improvements have been made to the Hall including treating the woodwork on the outside of the Hall – the back of the Hall and the lantern still need treating and it is hoped this will be done in the summer. Electrical works have been carried out which have included an efficiency check, fixing the lighting systems including emergency lighting and putting motion sensitive lights in the Ladies and Gents so they turn off automatically after a short time. The main gates at the entrance to the Hall car park have also been replaced. Devon Wildlife Trust kindly donated a tree to the village – a silver birch – and this has been planted in the triangle of grass at the entrance to the car park so all visitors can see it as they drive into the Hall.
The 59 Lottery Club has been revamped and the prize is now £100 a month for one lucky winner. The winner is decided by the bonus ball drawn by the National Lottery in the final Saturday of the month. It is hoped that by offering a more substantial prize more members will be attracted to join.
We are monitoring the Government guidelines and hope that the Hall can fully reopen from the end of June. This leaves little time to plan for the traditional village Ram Roast (and of course there wasn’t one in 2020 – the first time in over 25 years) but it is hoped that some kind of village event can be organised in July or August that will involve the whole village e.g. a BBQ and raffle/stalls/children’s games.
Weddings and parties are being booked for 2022 and 2023. It is hoped that Weddings booked for the second half of 2021 will be able to go ahead.
I would like to thank all the Trustees for committing time and effort to ensure the hall has been kept in good order during the last challenging twelve months – they play a key community role without which the Hall could not operate. We are always looking for new members to keep the Hall alive and central to the Bridestowe community.
There have been no new Trustee or Committee Members in the last Financial Year. As ever we would also welcome new Trustees/Committee Members or Volunteers so if anyone is interested I (or any of the Trustees) would be delighted to hear from you.
We look forward to welcoming both old and new hirers to the Hall through the rest of 2021 and into 2022.
Esther Winter Chairperson