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AGM 2014 Chairman's Report

There has been continuing  increase in the use of the hall in 2013. Income remains buoyant and is required to improve the facilities of the hall.

We had 30 different activities over the year, which produced an increase in footfall from 6247 last year to 6652 this year. The regular activities of Table Tennis, Short Mat Bowls, Zumba, Pilates and the Book Club continued to flourish, providing a range of activities for the benefit of parish residents. A regular Circle Dancing class is run by U3A.  Local artist, Kate Bentley, is now running Art Workshops.  A variety of organisations have hired the hall for activities such as Team Building, Business Networking, Meditation Classes, Tai Chi, etc. Unfortunately, there is no longer a regular Yoga class, although Yoga is a popular activity at other village halls.

An Events Committee, led by Steve Carman, was formed in January 2013 to oversee the planning and organising of H&BVH events other than the regular activities. During 2013 there were two very successful Highlights events, a B-Fest summer fete (to be repeated in 2014), a Pub Night, a Garland of Songs concert, Wine Tasting Quiz, and the launch of the annual golf day. The established New Year’s Eve Ceilidh was again a sell-out. The biennial Brigsteer Open Gardens, led by Barbara Clifford, was held over the spring bank holiday. We had 383 visitors and raised £3557, slightly less than 2011 owing to the atrocious Monday weather after a brilliant Sunday. There was the usual wonderful atmosphere in Brigsteer over the week-end, with numerous people giving generously of their time energy and skills. The Board thanks all those contributing to the running of events and activities.

An events programme has been drawn up for 2014. Thought has been given to the effects of the successful re-opening of the Wheatsheaf; how this will affect the village social life and how we can work with Individual Inns for mutual benefit.

The external lighting at the hall was improved with the help of a grant from Goals Galore. Lakeland Ltd contributed towards the cost of new cutlery. Helsington Parish Council donated £1325 towards the costs of running the hall. The Board is most grateful to our sponsors.

When the hall was built in 2011, we were unable to raise sufficient funds in the time available to build to the original plan. One of the cut-backs was to reduce the size of the storeroom by 50%. The resulting storeroom is not surprisingly insufficient, so the Board has been seeking funds to extend the storeroom to its original dimensions. We have already received considerable grants to meet the building costs and anticipate starting the extension in the spring of 2014.

Following negotiations with the Parish Council, the H&BVH Board have formally taken over responsibility for the car park across the road from the hall by way of a 25 year lease. We need to do some work on this site, which will require financing.

The Board arranged a training session for themselves, run by Cumbria CVS, on their responsibilities as Trustees of the Charity. We ran our own course for hall Keyholders to improve their knowledge of using the hall.

The 2013 AGM commenced the practice of one third of the board’s directors retiring each year. If they so wish, these directors could stand for re-election. As it happens, three directors will have retired as of the 2014 AGM. Jackie Fleetwood has also served as Bookings Secretary and in this role has put in an amazing effort on liaising with hirers, running the administration and keeping an eye on the daily maintenance of the hall. She has been largely responsible for the significant increase in the hall usage since it opened and will be hard to replace. The Board cannot thank her enough for her efforts. We also thank her husband, Mike, in assisting Jackie in this task. With Jackie’s retirement, the Board is testing a computerised booking system to be introduced early in 2014.

Jon Shaw resigned as a director as of the 2013 AGM due to a move away from the Parish. Jon served as Company Secretary for four years and has advised the Board on many issues at a critical time. We are happy to announce that Pip Riley has agreed to act as Company Secretary. David Prescott will also be resigning after doing a great deal of work behind the scenes, some practical and some procedural. Again, many thanks to both of them.

We are, therefore, looking for three new people to act as directors. Retiring colleagues always seem hard to replace, but new people with fresh ideas can help the organisation to grow. There are six Board meetings a year, but a lot of activity takes place between times. When everybody takes on some responsibility, the task is a very satisfactory one.

The new hall is now in its 4th year of operation and our initial excitement and anticipation have now been succeeded by the need to develop routines and maintain the quality of the building. The Board must continue to raise funds to meet our objectives; in this we need the constant support of members and residents to keep our much envied facility.

As Chair of the Board I would again thank the Directors and the many people who give of their time and energy in the running of the hall and ensuring its future.

Richard Griffiths

Chair, Helsington & Brigsteer Village Hall    March 2014