Lesbury Village Hall

A little gem at the heart of the community

It is a pleasure to be presenting a report which reflects another successful year in the life of Lesbury Village Hall.  All groups who use the hall have continued to thrive and our weekly calendar of events is almost at capacity.

Our committee of trustees remains the same as 2023 with the welcome addition of Jenny Beck who represents outdoor bowls.  Responsibilities amongst trustees have changed in to significant areas.  Kevin McKenna has taken on responsibility for building work and Ian Fordham agreed to lead on Green Energy.  Our very grateful thanks go to them both for their effort in each of these areas.

Despite  the increase in hall hire fees, all regular weekly and monthly groups continue.  In addition two new activities have commenced this year: a weekly Yogalates group and a pottery class.

During the we hosted the Intu film screenings for our local school, several Highlight perfomances and Lesbury Lunch Club.  Our wide and varied offerings to the community are thriving.

Lesbury Parish Council has once again shown their support and paid our annual insurance costs.  We also received a donation of two garden benches from the Atkinson family.  As part of our desire to move towards greener energy we have become members of Northumberland Community Energy Limited, a community benefit society, set up by Community Action Northumberland.  As part of this process, we have had a bat survey carried out.  However, an objection
from English Heritage is currently preventing us moving forward. We have
commissioned a heritage statement to demonstrate to planners that the benefits
this project will bring far outweigh any potential harm to the building from
installing solar panels and batteries.  Investigations into upgrading our power supply continue as do investigations into becoming a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation).  One advantage of this would be that it would limit any personal liability that individual trustees might have.  

Our Savings account with Saffron Building Society yielded almost £1,000 interest this year.  

Hall improvements have continued with a new fire door in the toilet area and some necessary insulation work.  Our gutters were cleaned and new gutter guards installed to prevent leaves from hampering drainage.  

We were offered guidance on improving our facilities for dementia sufferers and the partially sighted.  As a result of this report, we implemented these suggestions: seats with arms for our less mobile visitors, double handled mugs and improved signage throughout the hall.  Our improvements are in our development plan for 2024-25.  

A number of policies have been updated: Safeguarding; Conflict of Interest; Stock and Inventory; Equalities. 

Outdoors, an accident demolished a section of the wall by the bus stop.  This was covered predominantly by the driver’s insurance and was repaired.  However, there is a need for remedial work to preserve the outer stonework of the main building which needs repointing.  Firstly, work around the mullion windows is needed.  A grant application has been submitted and we await a response.  Secondly, the south facing wall is suffering from erosion, cracked cills, damage from bees and historic poor quality repair work.  Estimates are in the region of £40K+ so grants are being pursued as this will be a very costly project.  We all look forward to progress being made in these areas and that our grants’ magician will once again be successful! 

Jan McMahon 

Chair – Lesbury Village Hall