Hello everyone,

I hope that you are well and looking forward to better times as we get control of the pandemic and move back to normality.

My name is Brian Eldred and I am the Chairman of the Walton Village Hall committee. I’m sure many of you know me.

I wanted to take the opportunity to bring you up to speed with what’s been happening in the Village Hall over the last 12 months.

We now have a very strong committee and we meet online on a monthly basis. Despite the pandemic, we have many pleasing things to report from the last 12 months.

We will be organising an AGM: the date of this will be Monday 28th June, assuming the Covid roadmap goes as planned. In the last 12 months, we have continued to earn good levels of income which is very important, as it allows us to not only maintain the building but also to make improvements to our wonderful Village Hall. We have been able to do this in a Covid safe way and predominantly from one client offering essential worker services. A noticeable investment has been the resurfacing of the car park, which is now secure, even and safe to walk on or park.
We continue to make some small improvements, whether that be some touching-up, decorating or general cleaning, and we are all set to go to open up the Hall very shortly for future bookings and events.

Our website and automated booking system continues to work well and we are already seeing very promising signs for the second half of the year – indeed we have a number of new customers joining us and enjoying our facilities. We have several parties and weddings booked, which is something we have been hopeful for in our planning and organising.

With this in mind, we are also working very hard on expanding facilities in the Village Hall, and we have plans in place to build a modest extension to the northwest corner. This will house brand new toilet and washroom facilities, including for the disabled, and we are hopeful to make progress on this over the next 6 to 12 months. We have submitted a planning permission application with a view to understanding the requirements of the planners, especially from a conservation and construction perspective, and we hope to hear from them in the next few weeks.

In addition to the planning, we are also considering how we can receive significant investment into the Hall, in order to both fund this extension and make other alterations to improve it – we will be updating you more at our AGM.

As a result of the increased interest in our Hall, and with a view to the potential extension in the future, we are making a decision to install a container as a temporary storage facility on the right-hand side of the hall.

This will allow us to house a lot of assets from the Hall, including the substantial number of chairs we have and many other items in storage, which are currently stored above the front porch and present health and safety issues – we don’t feel this creates a good impression for hirers of the Hall and could limit its use.

The tidying up of the inside of the hall will allow us to maximise the hiring capacity and allow us to declutter in the short term. The proposed extension that we have would allow us to turn the existing washrooms into storage facilities and hence the container is a short-term plan.

We have consulted local residents who are comfortable with this decision and we will be using appropriate fencing to ensure it does not become unsightly.

As lockdown eases, we are considering a community get together for the village and will update you further if these plans materialise.

As ever, we always appreciate your feedback and should you have any questions or queries before our AGM, please do not hesitate to contact me at the email address below.

Yours sincerely

Brian Eldred