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.”



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