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Village Hall trust meeting - January 14



SADDLEBACK ROOM, BLENCATHRA CENTRE (courtesy of the Field Studies Council)


Present (Trustees): Donald Angus, Dot Benson, Sarah Corri, Carolyn Cripps, Sue Dunn, Steven Oldfield, Trevor Roberts.

 Also present: Neil Beresford (Treasurer)

  1. Apologies

Roger Bragg (work), Adrian Eddleston (another commitment), Barbara Lowesmith (working away).

  1. Minutes of the last Ordinary Meeting held on 30 October 2013 (previously circulated)

These were agreed as a correct record

  1. Matters arising from the Minutes not on the agenda


  1. Revitalisation scheme handover

It was reported that completion of work is still scheduled for 21 February. The Committee

  • noted the schedule of handover period dates etc as set out in the agenda
  • authorised the officers to make all necessary arrangements regarding the handover and initial period of operation.
  1. Coffee Shop update

An update on the Coffee Shop operation was given. The Coffee Shop will open on 1 March preceded by a staff training period on site. Three Baristas have been appointed, all live locally. The Manager position has been readvertised with a closing date of 24 January.  This report was noted.

  1. Annual Report 2012/13

The Committee

  • formally approved the Annual Report
  • authorised the Chairman to sign the Annual Report
  • authorised the Chairman and Secretary to sign the letter of representation as required by the accountants.

Action: Neil Beresford, Trevor Roberts, Steven Oldfield.

  1. Financial reports

A brief written update on the financial position was provided by Neil Beresford. The position on both the General Fund and the Project Fund is changing quite fast at the moment as the revitalisation building project comes to a close and we are planning for the launch of the new building etc.  The General Fund has been boosted by significant grants reported elsewhere, but most of this money will be expended soon. He emphasised again the importance of generating income from booking as quickly as possible.

The Committee noted this report.

  1. Grants

A detailed report was circulated setting out details of the grant support recently received/promised towards equipment, furniture and other Hall activities, and how this has been/is proposed to be allocated. The Committee

  • endorsed this report
  • agreed to the proposed allocations and transfers of funds.

Action: Trevor Roberts, Neil Beresford

  1. Furniture, equipment and related items

A detailed report was circulated setting out details of the various items and how these will be funded from income, grants, reserves etc. The Committee endorsed this report and authorised the officers to implement the various purchases etc.  

Action: Trevor Roberts, Neil Beresford

  1. Bookings and Marketing Secretary

A report on the initial work of Annette Howe was provided in the agenda. She has been involved in setting up and initiating the new bookings software (Avalon); promoting and managing Hall bookings; extending the range of contacts for promoting the Village Hall; and more general marketing and promotion of Village Hall.  Significantly, as it is within her remit to promote Hall use in support of the Village Hall Trust aims/objectives (and in fulfilment of its Big Lottery application commitments in this respect), she is dealing with some aspects of publicity for Hall activities by the Support Group and TAA, and also handling the ticket booking operations of these organisations. The Committee

  • noted the report
  • endorsed the arrangements made by the officers regarding BAMS.  
  1. Charges, terms and conditions and Village Hall brochure

Various detailed changes have been made as the new charging scheme has been established in practice. The Committee

  • endorsed the charges, terms and conditions etc as modified
  • authorised the officers to keep them under review and modify them as necessary in the light of experience
  • agreed to make a full review by the Committee in the Autumn of 2014.
  1. Village Hall Bookings

A report on bookings was circulated at the meeting. This explained the bookings software arrangements; the new bookings process; and general information on the level of bookings so far under the various categories of use. The new bookings process does insist on people signing a provisional booking confirmation which includes acceptance of terms and conditions, and some people have been slow in returning these forms - but the position is improving. Also some local organisations have still not been in touch to discuss dates, which will cause difficulties if they find that someone has booked the Hall when they want it. Annette Howe is already having to negotiate to fit some bookings in.

The Committee

  • noted the report
  • agreed that it wished to receive a report on booking levels at all future meetings so that it can monitor the situation and take any appropriate action. Action: Trevor Roberts
  1. Proposed "exchange" with Thornham Village Hall, Norfolk

Having considered  the implications of the decision to try to establish an "exchange" with Thornham Village Hall (see last meeting), Steven Oldfield had concluded that it would be better to leave this idea to be pursued at a later date if thought desirable. The Committee endorsed  this decision.

  1. Village Hall licence

It was reported that In accordance with the decision at the last meeting, an application had been made and had been granted (in the absence of objections) for a premises licence covering a full range of licensable and regulated activities including the sale of alcohol; and also for the Village Hall Trust in general to be the premises licence holder rather than a designated individual. Some representations were made to Steven Oldfield  by neighbours, and were dealt with informally.

As part of the process of applying, various measures had to be taken, including in particular the incorporation into the Hall booking terms and conditions some specific rules relating to the sale/consumption of alcohol. Anyone who wishes to hire the Hall and take advantage of the licence agrees to and will be expected to observe these conditions. The officers are now considering steps needed to reinforce our supervision of licensed/regulated activities. Beyond the measures already taken these will not be onerous.

The Committee

  • noted the position
  • authorised the officers to take whatever steps they consider necessary to supervise licensed/regulated activity.

Action: Trevor Roberts, Steven Oldfield

  1. Monitoring of Hall activities

A detailed written report had been circulated by the Monitoring Officer, Barbara Lowesmith. This

  • set out a summary table of all the community activity targets and timescales to which the various funding applications have referred and which are set out in detail in the blueprint for community actions The Positive Difference
  • detailed the steps required for monitoring attendance at events and activities, mainly a register system for organised activities and collection of basic information about participants attending larger functions.
  • proposed that we arrange a village survey and broader review in Spring 2017 to assess the impact of the Hall revitalisation.

The Committee

  • noted the report
  • agreed that monitoring of use of the Village Hall and its impact on the community and more generally is essential as we have to produce regular reports to various funders, in particular the Big Lottery; the cooperation of Hall users in this respect will be expected
  • authorised the Monitoring Officer to establish the systems and paperwork necessary to monitor Hall use along the lines described
  • agreed that once the system is up and running, the Monitoring Officer should submit regular reports to the Committee on the results of her analysis.

Action: Barbara Lowesmith, Trevor Roberts

  1. Publicity, promotion and marketing

A detailed report had been circulated prior to the meeting outlining the approach to publicity, promotion and marketing. The VHT is especially concerned with:

  • marketing of the Village Hall as a venue
  • marketing of participation in support of organisations which have booked the Village Hall where the VHT benefits financially or otherwise from the organisation concerned; and/or the organisation concerned is connected to the VHT constitutionally and/or is promoting activities which the VHT used to justify its BL and other funding.

The Committee approved the report and specifically agreed (with appropriate budgetary provision) that:

  • publicity arranged by the VHT itself, especially paid publicity, must be restricted to general advertising of the Village Hall; promotion of the Village Hall as a venue; and promotion of supplementary commercial use of the Village Hall - with other advertising aimed at generating participation (usually involving sale of tickets) paid for by the organisation concerned (including the Support Group, TAA, TYP etc)
  • the Village Hall website should continue to promote the Village Hall generally and also use/activities by organisations linked to the Village Hall Trust and/or promoting use/activities which form part of the Big Lottery grant application
  • the VHT pay for a monthly "what's coming up" advert in the Keswick Reminder
  • supplementary uses will be promoted in the relevant specialist media, local and non-local
  • the VHT will produce a small leaflet/flyer promoting itself as a venue, to be generally available and possibly distributed locally
  • £500 (from a grant) be transferred to the Support Group to help pay for a leaflet and Kesmail circulation promoting the Live Music programme
  • a contribution be made to the Support Group towards the cost of posters advertising Live Music and Live at TVH events.

 The relevant people were authorised to implement these arrangements, and the budgetary provisions approved.

Action: Trevor Roberts, Neil Beresford

Consideration of this issue led to a discussion about the future of Beneath Bencathra. It was reported that the Parish Council is hoping to find a way of sustaining the magazine and has authorised Madeleine Singleton to put together something, which she hopes to distribute at the beginning of February. It was not clear how this would operate in practice or whether it would be possible to continue. After consideration, it was agreed that, although the Village Hall Trust will engage as best it can with whatever arrangements apply, until the longer term format and future of the newsletter (if any) is resolved, the Trust must make arrangements to promote itself in other ways.

  1. Christmas Draw

The Committee

  • thanked the people who organised the draw
  • noted that the Draw made £210.50 after costs (and that the Annual Whist Drive and Raffle held at the same time by the Support Group raised £67 after costs).
  1. Grand Opening Draw/official opening of the Hall

A report on the position was considered. Thanks to Sarah Corri and Dot Benson, the Grand Opening Draw is more or less lined up to roll as soon as we have a target date for an official celebrity opening; we have had a number of high quality prizes donated/promised. While we still have a chance of attracting a high profile person to inaugurate the premises,  this is still unresolved, which is unsatisfactory. Therefore the officers were authorised to make a decision by the end of the first week of February, and if nothing more definite is sorted on "Plan 1", then an appropriate "Plan 2" should be arranged and a date fixed (probably at the beginning of May) so that arrangements can be put in hand and the Draw announced.  

Action: Trevor Roberts

  1. Arrangements for the Annual Meeting on 26 February

It was agreed that

  • the Annual Meeting be publicised by notices (it has already been formally notified in Beneath Blencathra)
  • the usual reports and elections will be held
  • the Chairman will give an illustrated run through of where we have come from and where we are heading to with the Village Hall
  • after the meeting, as in previous years, there will be an informal session with wine (at VHT expense).
  1. Any other business

Visit by Joanne Williams, Big Lottery Grants Officer

Trevor Roberts reported on an informal visit earlier in the day by Joanne Williams, who has been our main (and very supportive) BL contact for more than three years. She visited the Hall (accompanied by Trevor, Dot Benson and Annette Howe) and then spent some time in discussion about various aspects, including our experience of dealing with the BL process, and future monitoring requirements. Her reaction to everything was very positive. A short note and photograph has been sent to The Reminder.

Health and Safety

On 6 February, the Hall will be visited and inspected by our own Health and Safety Consultant.  This will result in various recommendations about signs, equipment, policies and procedures etc which will need to be implemented before the Hall reopens. There will be another visit to fine tune things about three months later. The Committee authorised the officers to do whatever is required to implement the recommendations emerging from this process.

  1. Dates of future meetings

The following dates (all Wednesdays) are proposed for future meetings:

  • 5 March 2014 - this will also involve the Special Meeting to agree cooptions - the meeting is close to the Annual Meeting just to maintain momentum in the aftermath of the opening, and we will need to make some arrangement to cover the three week notice required for this meeting
  • 4 June 2014
  • 3 September 2014
  • 12 November 2014 (pre AGM meeting)
  • with the 2014 Annual Meeting on 26 November 2014

TMC members already appointed by the Parish Council in particular should note these dates. Anyone being nominated for election at the Annual Meeting should be informed of these dates. Action: Steven Oldfield.

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