With the resignation of Roger Styring in May 2019 we were in need of a new chair. For the first six months we rotated the role for 3 months at a time, until I finally agreed to take over from January 2020. It has been a sharp learning curve but made possible with the support of committee members, all of whom have taken on responsibility for a particular area of the hall management.
It has been an unusual yet highly productive year for the Village Hall Committee, until Covid-19 meant we had to close our doors in March ,for the foreseeable future. This has been a blow to the whole community as the hall has been booked almost to capacity throughout the year.
Once again this year the focus of our work has been the continuing and final stages of refurbishment. A brand new stainless steel catering kitchen has been fitted and supplied with new crockery , cutlery and cooking equipment; the hall floor and foyer have been refurbished; the old stage has been dismantled and replaced with new flexible portable staging; new stage lighting installed; the foyer storeroom was redesigned by Kevin McKenna and then fitted out so every user group has their own dedicated storage space and ,finally ,the windows were all replaced and fitted with double glazing. All of this work was financed through grants obtained by Jean Humphrys who also bore the burden of overseeing the work. Our very special thanks go to Jean for her valiant efforts on our behalf.
Film nights continued to be a steady source of income and, possibly as a result of The Playhouse being closed ,some films had full audiences. We also operated INTO films for schools in November which involves showing age appropriate films INTO sends us to screen for local schools.
Other fundraising activities have included a Highlights event; a concert to raise funds for the improvement of the bridge over the Aln, at the end of Steppey Lane and a Burns Night event in January. All these events were sold out in advance.
The variety of groups and the activities offered has once again expanded this year so we are almost at capacity. New groups include Photography, a Gardening club, Dance workout and Messy Church moved to Lesbury at the start of the year.
The hall continues to be at the heart of the village. The Beginners Bridge on Tuesday afternoons has proved to be very popular this year and the choir continues singing and taking part in the village Christmas Carol concert in December. Other groups include Art, Dance fit, Bridge, Toddler group, Spanish, Archery, Pilates Table Tennis, Indoor Bowls and Lesbury Lunch Club. In addition it is a venue for private parties, WI, Parish Council Meetings , Saturday afternoon get togethers and elections. There is something for everyone.
We look forward to normal services being resumed as soon as possible! In the meantime the committee continues to function using ZOOM for their meetings. Finally, I thank everyone for their hard work and dedication , which helped us to gain the first level of Hallmark, an award given to village halls in recognition of good management. Here’s hoping for a less eventful and less stressful year!
Jan McMahon Chairman – Lesbury Village Hall