Annual Report of the Chairman and Secretary – April 2014/15

This report covers the period from 15th April 2014 to 29th April 2015, the end of our first year in our current rolls as Chairman and Secretary.  It has been a challenging year for various reasons but also a very rewarding one.

Committee: During the year to April 2015 Maggie Simons was Chairman, Margaret Smith Secretary, Chris Shutie followed by Stuart Wilson were Treasurers, Booking Secretaries, Lynn and Kevin Clarke and Roger Baker, Building Renovations Officer.  Additional committee members were: Graham Clarke, Simon Edwards, Rev. Norma Fergusson, Eliza Lewis (PC spokesperson), Diane Lovegrove, Vic Tombs, and Karine Winfield (Toddlers’ spokesperson).

In May 2014 our Treasurer, Chris Shutie, had a serious accident and had to resign.  After a few weeks Stuart Wilson agreed to take over the role in difficult circumstances as there was no-one available to hand over the paperwork.  I would like to thank Stuart for the work he did while treasurer.

Graham Clarke, Karine Winfield and Stuart Wilson have resigned from the committee.

Since last year’s annual meeting on the 15th April 2014 committee meetings have been held on the 7th July 2014, 30th Sept 2014, 3rd December 2014, 11th March 2015 and today’s annual meeting on the 29th April 2015.  Margaret Smith, Secretary, has prepared and circulated minutes of all meetings which have been signed by the Chairman after approval of the committee and filed in the Hall Minutes File kept by the Secretary.  Electronic copies are also available.

Hall refurbishment: In autumn 2014 there was a set back to our renovation fund when it was noticed that some of the exterior paint work was in a poor condition and it was agreed that this work should be carried out urgently before the winter made it worse.  Ray Smith submitted a quotation which was accepted and the work which included replacing the lower sections on the large front window was completed by the end of November.

Our main focus during the year has been on the main hall refurbishment including obtaining quotations for the main hall work, submitting requests for grants, and project managing the work.  We were delighted to be awarded two grants from the Vale of White Horse from their Capital Community Fund and their New Houses Bonus Fund, we were also awarded a grant from TOE2 in conjunction with Grundon for carrying out work recommended in their energy audit, as well as a grant from Bernard Sunley Foundation grant.  We were disappointed not to receive a substantial grant from Biffa despite being asked to complete a full application which meant we had to reduce the amount of work we could carry out and a decision was made not to insulate and renew the floor this year and for the committee to carry out the lower level decoration work themselves.  In addition the committee delivered letters to each house explaining the work to be done on the hall and asking for donations.  By the end of March 2015 donations had been received in response to this letter of £3,106, after the financial year end £726.25 was received from HM Revenue and Customs for gift aid, a few further donations have also been received.   Thanks go to everyone who supported our request for donations.  The hall was closed between January 2015 and mid-April 2015 for the refurbishment work.  We have also received a grant of £500 towards new chairs for the hall from Yvonne Constance from her County Community Fund.

When it was time to decorate the hall we were supported by Brewers paints who donated £200 of paint and Involve Swindon who put us in touch with a volunteer team from Nationwide in Swindon who came in over two days and carried out the majority of the decoration work.  When they had finished committee members came in to finish the work and clean up ready for the opening on 18th April.  Our thanks go to everyone who helped in any way both before and after the building work and we hope everyone will agree that we can now be very proud of Ashbury Village Hall.

Events and Fund Raising Activities: In addition to claiming grants and seeking donations our fund raising activities included a concert by Angelico in April 2014, a Lampshade workshop in June 2014, several workshops towards the Parish Textile Map in the Autumn and Winter, A Christmas Social Evening in December 2014.

Regular and Special Activities: Between April 2014 and December 2014 there were regular meetings of the toddler’s group, ballet classes, keep fit classes and senior citizens. In addition the Hall committee have held regular meetings and the Hall continues to be frequently used for private parties, events and Church functions.

Maintenance Program: Due to the refurbishment of the hall the fire extinguisher check and PAT testing was postponed until completion.  These will now take place as soon as possible. Loose rendering on the outside walls of the hall and cracks in the School House wall continue to be monitored.

Cleaning and Maintenance: Kevin Clarke continued to keep the grounds tidy and the outside windows cleaned. Lynn Clarke continued to clean the hall weekly.  Both are paid for doing this work.

Village Hall Web page:  During the year Diane McLaren has regularly maintained the Village Hall pages on the Ashbury Website with information provided by the committee.  The promised new web site finally went live in April 2015 but still needs some work.

Finance/Reserves:  We have an agreed minimum reserve of £5000 but throughout the year the balances have been much higher thanks to fund raising, grants and donations.  There are still two final grants due from the Vale of White Horse, £3,000 from the New Homes Bonus Fund and £3461 due from Capital Community Grants and our builder, Heath, is owed a final balance of £6115.20.   The bank balance as 27th April 2015 is £6875.00 and the value of our investment trust is £120,369.

 Maggie Simons                                   Margaret Smith

Chairman                                             Secretary

29th April 2015