Umberleigh Village Hall
Chairman’s Report 2019
Welcome to the 2019 annual General Meeting of the Umberleigh Village Hall Committee.
The last twelve months have seen further improvements in the facilities at Umberleigh Village Hall, which no doubt have helped to make it one of the most popular venues in the area. Amongst the improvements have been recarpeting of the stage and further improvements to the sound system, together with various measures to improve safety. We now have a new more durable sign at the front of the hall.
To achieve these improvements, we have been fortunate in obtaining significant grants from both national and local funding bodies, which no doubt our Treasurer will refer to in her Report. (Short pause to remember the late Cllr. Walter White). In addition to this, the Hall’s finances are in good shape, largely due to the untiring efforts of our fund raising committee, who continue to come up with fresh ideas. The Christmas Dinner continues to be a highlight of the Umberleigh year, and the Antiques Fairs have now become a regular fixture. We are actively considering the purchase of a storage unit for tables and chairs,as well as other items such as pantomime props. This will enable us to use the small back room more effctively.
We hope our on-line presence with a revamped website and a Facebook page is bringing awareness of forthcoming events to a wider audience, but at present these services could be more actively supported.
The Hall continues to be very well used with a wide range of activities ranging from art classes, dance classes, band practice as well as private parties and celebrations. Many organisations also use the Hall for meetings: schools, North Devon District Council, Young Farmers, Women’s Institute and the Tarka Rail Association for example.
Umberleigh Village Hall has for thirty years been the venue for the very popular Umberleigh Pantomime, produced by the Really Useless Theatre Company. The performances as always were well attended – this year £250 was kindly donated to the Hall from the proceeds. We greatly value this ongoing relationship. The Bell also made a donation from their proceeds at the bar.
Together with the pantomime, other long-standing events such as the Garden Show and Dog Show ensure that our village hall makes a vital contribution to the social, cultural and community life of Umberleigh and beyond. The cancellation at short notice of the Dog Show in 2018 was due to the unexpectedly warm weather – possibly a first for any local event.
North Devon Council have reissued our Premises Licence under the same conditions as before, but with the Licencee listed as the Committee rather than a named individual. This should allow for more continuity should individual members change.
The Committee is working closely with Umberleigh Academy to support the creation of a “Park and Play” area opposite the entrance to the school. The Pantomime Committee have donated £2000 towards the project, with the Antiques Fair adding a further £450. Planning permission and costings for this project are ongoing, and it is the Village Hall Committee’s intention to continue financial and practical support.
Of course, nothing at the Hall happens without the hard work and dedication of a large number of local people who give freely of their time to plan, organise, set up, clear away all the many events we host. In addition, the regular tasks of grass cutting, hedge trimming and general maintenance work are all undertaken by volunteers. We are also lucky to have a caretaker who takes a real pride in keeping the hall looking the way our users expect to see it. However, as some residents move away and others join our community, we are always pleased to welcome new and (dare I say it?) younger volunteers to help run this vital asset.
I think it can be fairly said that UVH plays an important role in fostering a real sense of community and belonging. I look forward to seeing the hall continue to create an environment in which the entire community – young and old – can benefit by active involvement in the range of activities we support.
David Hawkings, Chairman UVH, 30 April 2019