Lesbury Village Hall

A little gem at the heart of the community

I am delighted to be presenting a report for what has been a welcome return to normal for hall users. A full programme of activities and events has resumed with bookings during the week almost reaching capacity.

One longstanding committee member, Holmes Miller, tended his resignation this year, after 50 years outstanding service. We celebrated with him, his family and friends in the hall. He was presented with a book of photographs & memories outlining his contributions to village life and a portrait of himself.

We gained a new member to the committee representing outdoor bowls, John Clark, and Nicola Richardson volunteered to look after our website and keep it updated.  Our gratitude to her.

The variety of groups using the hall has continued to thrive with the most popular groups being our weekly community singing , Bridge for beginners on Tuesday afternoons and Pilates on Friday mornings.

A host of other activities have taken place throughout the year: defibrillator training in July; Intu film screenings for local schools in November; a Highlights performance and a ceilidh to celebrate 50 years of the hall. Film nights have continued, as has Lesbury lunch club once a month.

Our treasurer has introduced a new accounting system this year which is much appreciated by the trustees. Our Parish Council paid our insurance costs and intends to continue doing so. This is particularly welcome as insurance has increased. We also received an anonymous donation of £500. Indoor bowls were successful in obtaining a grant to buy an electric trolley and provide some funding towards the flooring in the foyer.

Jean Styring was yet again successful in her bidding with receipt of a £20,000  grant from the Northern Powerhouse Fund. This is for increasing the electricity input to the hall from single phase power to at least two phase and for investment in solar power and batteries. We were also awarded a grant of £800 from The Rothley Trust towards the cost of minor repairs on the roof, building a new trolley for moving tables around the hall and increasing insulation above our highest windows. It will cost more than £800, but we are applying for grants elsewhere. 

However, the rising cost of fuel charges has regrettably meant we need to increase our hire charges from June this year. It has been at least 4 years since the last increase. It has always been policy that income should meet the running cost of the hall and without a rise of £2 per hour and the grants to help with improvements and maintenance this would not be possible.

We continue to be a warm hub and rest centre and negotiated a new 25 year lease with Northumberland Estates. A new agreement with the outdoor bowls club has been agreed too. A new fire door has been installed in the chair store; a key safe located outside behind the hall noticeboard and an electronic control ,HIVE, to enable the heating to be controlled remotely and more efficiently. Our solar energy drive is currently on hold pending a planning objection by English Heritage. We successfully completed our Hallmark assessment and now have level 3, the highest grade possible, for the way we run and manage the hall.

However, our major improvement this year has been the refurbishment of the entrance and foyer which is now complete. New flooring has been laid in the entrance, foyer and chair store; a new cupboard with an electronic shutter door installed in the foyer to store all tables and a redesign of the storeroom in the toilet area to store the bowls and table tennis equipment, also with an electronic shutter door. The majority of the work was possible partly through grant aid but also hall financial reserves.  None of this work would have been possible without the dedication of Kevin McKenna who drew up the plans, arranged the work force and managed the whole process. Our thanks know no bounds.

It has been a very busy year but our hall continues to flourish thanks to team work. My thanks go to everyone involved.  Long may it continue to succeed.

Jan McMahon

 Chair – Lesbury Village Hall