May 2019 Update

Progress with the village hall: points of no return and new ventures.

The Sale of Work committee at Repton School have made a generous donation following the fundraising event in November. This group has been a consistent donor for quite a few years and we are very grateful.

At ground level the progress with the hall is obvious as one walks by. The project is on time and we have had to make sure that all the fine tuning has been done. This boiled down to making sure at this stage that the water supply and drainage is all in the right place. A point of no return was reached quite quickly. The next stage was to make sure that there will be sufficient electrical power and computer points where they will be needed. All the connections for the audiovisual system have also been mapped out. The constructor allowed us to sit with the kitchen supplier who was able to map our ideas on computer as we spoke. This is a very important area and a lot of effort has been put into trying to get it right.

Work is still going on as to the best way to deal with the trees in the car park and to produce a good finish within budget. Progress is being made but this is proving surprisingly complex. We will have to pursue a further grant from somewhere to complete the landscaping scheme in its entirety brazilian hair.

Past users have been consulted and most are keen to return. There is a wedding request for October 2020 and we have had enquiries about a christening, birthday celebrations and other new activities. It is fair to say that pretty much everybody is sensitive about price and we have had already two quite long meetings trying to set out a long-term policy on this. We are working on a projection of likely costs but have to make an assumption about the likely level of use. The more the facilities are used, the easier it will be to control prices. That in turn might work if, for example, we could persuade regular monthly users to rotate around one evening thereby leaving a different evening free for a regular weekly evening user. In the short term, this might not be achievable as some groups book speakers far ahead but it merits consideration.

Not all groups will need to use the main hall. The meeting room and cafe space will be available. It is very likely that we will be able to charge much less for daytime use and on Sundays which are traditionally quite quiet. We are also fairly certain at this stage that there will be a discount for local users and possibly for long-term users. The aim is to reach a conclusion on this during our meeting in May.

This is a difficult area as whilst we want all to be very affordable it also has to be clean and meet current levels of expectation in terms of facilities. When visiting other halls as part of our preparation work, we had a very salutary tale. A new hall in South Derbyshire was built in the mid-1990s and jogged along merrily until 20 years later it was realised there was no money in the kitty and a massive backlog of maintenance and repairs. It was very hard work to sort it out.

It seems that there are good levels of interest in supporting a community cafe venture and for youth activity. The key to success in both these spheres is finding someone willing to lead and enough volunteers. Please contact me to be added to lists of those interested in discussing these projects further, thank you to those who have already done so.