In November 2021 a new committee was elected to take over the management of Ashley Memorial Hall. We promised a new vision and direction to bring the hall to the forefront of our community, make it accessible and inclusive for all and make it fit for purpose to serve our village and its residents.
5 months on and although on the face of it not much has moved forward, behind the scenes the new committee have been working hard to improve governance and put best practice into place which will help us to manage the hall effectively moving forward.
So what have we done… so far?
Community Survey The views of our community are essential and without you and your input there is no Hall. We have circulated a survey to our community through social media, our website, circulated to community groups, local schools and provided hard copies and information in high traffic community areas such as the library, local pubs, the hairdressers and the Co-op. We would like to thank everyone that has contributed so far, we have received some really helpful feedback and will be reviewing this more in-depth when the survey closes on 31st March. So there is still time to contribute if you have not already.
Governance The hall is run as a charity according to a deed of conveyance from 1953. This is a legal document much of which cannot be altered but where it can it has to be approved by the Charity Commission. We are working towards developing an addendum to this document with help from Support Staffordshire to meet the requirements of users in the current day whilst retaining the original intentions of the deed of conveyance. In due course we will be presenting our findings and conclusions and applying to the Charity Commission for approval. A huge piece of work is being carried out to establish new policies and procedures to meet our legal requirements and ensure the hall is a safe place for all users and can be hired by members of the community with confidence that everything they will need is in place. To this end we have had a professional fire safety assessment carried out and are in the process of carrying out the action plan that has been identified to upgrade safety at the hall.
Website We have updated our website to bring a more modern look and feel. We have lots of exciting plans for our website to make it more user friendly and easier to navigate so watch this space and we will update when we have some further details.
Building, facilities and upgrades The building dates back to 1953 and therefore maintenance is essential to retain the integrity of the building. We are acutely aware of a number of issues and we have sought quotes for works to be done including a new roof. There was £10,000 of National Lottery funding awarded to the Hall prior to the Covid-19 pandemic which has been ‘ring fenced’ within the hall finances which will go towards replacing the flat roof at the front and back and replacing the sky lights. We are now in the final stages of agreeing the price but as you can imagine the total far exceeds the £10,000 we were awarded and we will be looking to either apply for additional grants and/or hold a number of fund raising event to help top up the cost.
We are also excited to share that we are to install a new state-of-the-art door locking system which will improve safety and also ensure better ease of access for all regular and adhoc users which will do away with the need to collect and drop off keys. This is due to be installed in April.
Review of Inventory We are in the process of reviewing all of the equipment the hall currently has to offer to identify what we may need or what may need to be replaced and where to store all equipment. All equipment that the hall has will be offered to all groups that hire the hall and adhoc users should they require it. e.g. The PA system.
Review of Hall We are in the process of benchmarking the hall against similar halls within a 10 mile radius to ensure that the facilities we offer balance with our charges and are in line with other community centres/halls. We want provide assurance that our community are receiving value for money whilst ensuring the hall receives an income which will serve to support the hall for further maintenance and events in the future.
Outreach and Engagement with our Community We have held a number of drop in sessions where we have been available at the hall to provide local residents with the opportunity to drop in and give feedback and offer ideas or thoughts. Many of our committee members have been out and about meeting and liaising with other community groups, community members and local businesses to see how we can come together better as a community.
We also intend to be more active on social media sharing events and community information as we move forward.
Future Plans We are working towards launching regular community events, potential ideas include dances, games nights, pop-up restaurants, gaming events aimed at older children and teens, Quiz nights etc. We aim to be more engaged with our community and community groups to offer an inclusive, welcoming village hub that supports our community when and where needed with access to its facilities for all.
With that in mind we are delighted to announce that we will be holding our first community event in May so watch for more information which will follow shortly.
Community If you have any events, ideas or suggestions please do get in touch and discuss. We would LOVE to hear from you.
Thanks all – The Ashley Memorial Hall Committee.