Apart from temporary closures during two national lockdowns in the last twelve months, we have kept the hall open for certain carefully managed activities. It was only after 19 July that we got back to anything like the old normal. We have learnt from Acre that we are one of the few halls to have kept open when it was legally possible, and this was because of careful planning and the willingness of users to follow the guidelines. We invested in a fogging machine which has meant organisers have not had to spend a large amount of time sterilising surfaces before and after each event. Acre even uploaded a short video on YouTube of Sarah using the machine.
The only upside of the pandemic has been the unexpected inflow of cash grants intended for the hospitality and leisure sector hit by closures. We have put this to good use in improving our hot water system in the kitchen and installing an industrial dishwasher. We are very grateful to Peter Stokes for acting as our clerk of works, as well as undertaking various essential maintenance tasks.
We had a Cambourne Community Chest grant towards the purchase of soft furniture and coffee tables for the small hall and people, with a few exceptions, seem pleased with the new arrangement.
We have held committee meetings successfully by Zoom and the administration of the hall’s business has gone smoothly. The main item on our meeting agendas has been, and will continue to be, the transfer of our status to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). In this we are being assisted by Louise Beaton, as she is an expert in this matter and has drafted the CIO constitution appropriate to village halls that has been submitted by Acre to the Charity Commission. I would like to record our thanks to Chris Reid for driving this forward.
Katherine Stalham and Helen and Mark Underwood organised the village quiz over Zoom Rooms which was an incredible achievement. We were all devastated to hear of Mark’s untimely death in the summer and his presence at village events will be greatly missed.
The annual Christmas Fair went online and raised £1128.50 for hall funds, so thank you Suzy, Pat, Miki, Kay and Peter for this remarkable achievement.
The village coffee morning became virtual, over Zoom, and we are grateful to Kay and Jill, helped out on occasions by Rachel, for organising this. Since early summer it has been hosted in people’s gardens.
We have kept the pub and pizzas going, although at times this was on a take-away only basis. We must thank the Easys and Chris for all their hard work on these Saturday evenings.
Darcy Stalham completed her DoE by fund-raising for the village hall. Her baking and cooking raised £80 which we will towards a TV and projector.
Karate and ballet classes are back and we are receiving enquiries about autumn bookings. We look forward to functioning normally, but have the experience to manage any future partial or full lockdowns.
We hope that in the autumn we will have “free for life” fast fibre broadband installed by County Broadband as a gesture to the community. When this is up and running we will be installing a TV and projector.
I would like to thank all the committee – Peter, Suzy, Chris, Jill, John, Pat, Isabelle and Sarah for their cheerful hard work over the past twelve months. I would also like to recognise the great assistance provided by Lisa Chambers and the Acre team in navigating our way through Covid regulations, risk assessments and the CIO transfer process.