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Village Halls Week

The week commencing 20th January is the annual Village Hall’s week which seeks to celebrate the rising status of the village hall in many communities. Often it is the only public space to meet, hold activities and generally come together as a community.

Kingsley is no different and with no shop or pub the hall is a central feature in village life (we hope?)

However, before extolling the virtues of the hall its worth pointing out that a hall needs volunteers to manage and run the premises. It was Volunteers Week recently and its fair to say you can’t have one without the other. The final ingredient is people using the hall.

We have spent several months seeking a new secretary at the hall. Its a key role but not a taxing one but we have little interest and we cannot figure why. We are financially stable, are we think a decent bunch in terms of the committee and our meetings and activities are fun.

We are therefore delighted to announce that we have secured a new secretary, she is related to an existing committee member and will be a great addition to the team. If you were thinking of volunteering but didn’t you can still get involved so get in touch.

To help everyone know what’s on at the hall please click this LINK here and print it out or save it.

The below is an article from the Times on 10th January and is a good read of what a hall is about but it does mention people!

Where can you attend a pole dancing class, buy a decent bottle of pinot noir and enjoy a country music gig all under one roof? The answer, it would appear, is your local village hall.

Village halls are enjoying a resurgence as other rural services and shops are closing down. Some of England’s 10,000 village halls are now bustling hubs that offer activities that would have once raised an eyebrow.

After a period of poor attendance, Threlkeld Village Hall near Keswick in the Lake District is now a “thriving, lively, bouncy place” following a refurbishment in 2014. It now boasts underfloor heating sourced from the ground, electricity powered by solar panels and a coffee shop as well as space for concerts and yoga.

“We used to struggle to get 30 tickets sold to a concert before but we now regularly sell out with 120 bums on seats,” said Steven Oldfield, 70, the secretary. “Our old hall was falling down. It was a typical old, cold village hall — the walls were running with condensation. There was very little on offer. It’s impossible to compare now.”

The government introduced a £3 million grant scheme for the refurbishment of village halls April last year and so far 21 halls have received grants, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Sandford’s Talking Shop, a community group in Oxfordshire, raised money for their village through donations and it is staffed by volunteers who sell homemade food, local produce and wine and offer refills for soap and shampoo bottles. The hall has a bustling café and space for table tennis, Pilates, a film club, a sewing group and the local Women’s Institute.

Gina Ashburner, 67, a volunteer at the hall, said that the village had suffered for the last 20 years after the local shop and post office closed.

“We really missed a local place to see people — there’s just the Sainsbury’s down the road and nothing else,” she said. “Before the Talking Shop opened there was no way to meet anyone. It’s such a big change, it’s brought people together. Now the elderly, who used to be quite isolated, come here, and mothers with their babies. It’s lovely to see.”

Tammy Holden-White, 32, who was at the hall enjoying lunch with her partner, Simon, 37, said: “It’s a uniquely welcoming place. You get such a diverse group of people hanging out. You would never see this in Costa. It’s a wonderful place to bring a child, it’s so bright. It’s transformed the village.”

Richard Howlett, 37, manager of Talking Shop, added: “The fundamental thing you get when you put a shop and a café in a village hall is that it becomes a second home. The impact of all the encounters you get when you bring people together is lovely. It’s rebuilt those connections that have been lost since the other services closed down.”



Christmas 2019 Events a Great Success

The end of last month saw our annual Christmas events which have become a feature of village life since 2013. Its nice to see Kingsley Holt having village Christmas Trees as well which increases the sense of community.

Our Friday night Christmas Lights took on a different theme this year with a brass ensemble headed by local mass Russell Bevans playing a variety of Christmas tunes along with mince pies, cup cakes, hot chocolate and of course warm mulled wine. We had a great night and one of the older residents present, and a great supporter of the hall, Claire Johnson performed the switch on.

Our Christmas hampers, guess the weight of the cake competition and the Hetty’s Tea Room chocolate cake were very popular to say the least.

The Saturday Breakfast Santa was another great success and we sold out over 3 weeks before. Including volunteers, we did over 110 breakfasts and some 40 children saw Santa in his grotto. The hall made a decent return for the efforts of all the volunteers but the days when raising money was the main aim are at present secondary to ensuring the community has the opportunity to come together and enjoy events at the heart of the village.

Can we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


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Scarecrow Fest 2019 – A message from Alison and Julie

When we were young, growing up in the village, the sense of community was massive. We had 8 shops and 4 pubs in Kingsley and 2 shops and 2 pubs in Kingsley Holt.

There were numerous events, such as the local carnivals, and everyone looked out for one another. All the kids played together in the streets or down the fields and it wasn’t unusual to have 20 plus kids playing ‘Stuck in the mud’, ‘Tic’, ‘Hopscotch’ or skipping; and bicycles were always out in force. Society has obviously changed and for good reason in many cases, but it’s meant that some of the community spirit has gone. The scarecrow Festival is all about recreating that community spirit.

We had scarecrows made by 7-year olds and by 80-year olds. No one really does it to win, but just to be involved. The buzz around the two villages was brilliant and the number of people that came, as always exceeded our expectations. We couldn’t do it without the scarecrow makers though – they get better and better every year and we can’t begin to tell you all how much we appreciate your support. Our kids, who are all local, love the fact that people stand your scarecrow up if it falls over and no-one bats an eyelid at little pots of money dotted around both villages.

A massive thank you to Kingsley Church, Kingsley Village Hall and Kingsley Holt Chapel for putting on refreshments; Kingsley school for doing all the photocopying and to The Blacksmiths for giving out entry forms. We love that the local amenities do their own scarecrows and join in the spirit every year.

Also thank you to Kingsley Village Hall Facebook page and Kingsley Holt News for their marketing and promotion. We aren’t really into social media, so really appreciate their expertise in getting the word around. A massive thank you to our judges over the 3 years, who have had the unenviable task of picking a winner. Each year they have donated extra prizes so we can give out more awards because it’s such a difficult choice.

The biggest thank you goes to the scarecrow makers and the public for making this event the success it has become. We are happy to continue for as long as you support it and we are looking for ideas for a theme for next year. So get your thinking caps on and we look forward to making next year even better!!

Julie & Alison xx