This is a summary of the first meeting of the Hall Working Group on 27th September 2016 at 7pm at the Post Office Tearoom.
Present were Shalla, Andrea, Charlie MacNeill and Moira.
Apologies from Ruth and Catriona, apologies received after the meeting from Keith and Jackie.
The Working Group handed out approximately 320 questionnaires of which 52 were handed back in by the deadline. Of these, 9 people didn’t and wouldn’t use the hall, leaving 43 sheets with positive comments and suggestions.
Monthly meetings – WI, Community Council
Weekly meetings – Toddlers, youth club, carpet bowls (winter)
Irregular use – private functions, parties (community and private), wedding receptions, voting, school shows and prizegiving, charity events, coffee mornings and other fundraisers.
– high hall fees
– lack of storage
– not kept neat and clean
– in need of refurbishment inside and out
– poor kitchen facilities
– lack of publicising of events and activities
– poor heating
– poor toilets
– uncomfy seating
A total of 35 activities were suggested by respondents (full list here).
Of these, Rainbows and Art Club are already in the pipeline.
The 5 most commonly suggested by respondents were Yoga (12), Keep fit (11), Arts and crafts (7), Book club (5) and Dance lessons (5).
A nice suggestion was made to turn the green into a garden and park facility.
The general feeling of the meeting was that there was no point in buying the hall if it was not financially viable in its own right. Therefore the first actions to be taken are to attempt to make the Hall viable financially by encouraging more use by the community. This would mean leasing from the council on a yearly basis at first until we were sure that this would work. Only then could the community consider more long term options.
It was pointed out how important the Hall is for the school (although we did not receive a questionnaire from the school, there was one from the parent council). The school hall is not big enough for parents and pupils to meet together, especially when you consider that we are a partner school with Wigtown, and they often come here for shared events.
This venture requires a huge commitment from the village; from the Hall Committee and the Working Group, and from volunteers and organisers of activities as well as the community committing to using the Hall more.
We know that it is possible because other communities are already successfully running their Halls.
A quote from one of the questionnaires sums it up very well:
“The hall is situated in the centre of the village. If left to fall into disrepair it will have a detrimental effect on the village. This would in turn be negative on house sales and the businesses within the village. We must keep the village alive and inviting for all.”
ALL members of the Working Group need to meet to clarify this discussion, and also clarify their commitment to saving the Hall. It was suggested that we meet again on Tuesday 11th October at 7pm in the Post Office. It will not be possible to save the Hall without a fully committed working group and the members present at the meeting were of the opinion that 9 is a minimum number – that allows for one or two apologies; any less and the workload will be too much for the individuals involved. Two or three more would be preferable. Nicola Steele showed an interest previously – I am going to ask her if she would like to join.
Please would you let me know if you can make this meeting. After this meeting we will set a date before the end of October with Karen Brownlie to have another public meeting to discuss our overall findings with interested members of the community.
I don’t want to bang a drum too hard, but this is going to take effort and from the very beginning.
Let me know if this date is suitable – we really need to all get together to discuss further where we go from here,