Objectives and activities

Significant activities and financial review

A mixed year where we experienced restrictions due to COVID but also where we tried to get back to some sort of normal activity. As well as ensuring the hall was available to users, the Trustees also focused on hosting several events, including free bingo and beetle drive evenings to allow people to venture out again, with sensible precautions in place, focusing on events that would have as wide appeal as possible. We also ran a couple of quizzes and the hall hosted the village Christmas fete and annual races events.

The hall continued to be used for a range of activities including preschool, dance and fitness classes, language lessons, cookery classes, birthday and other party events, badminton, table tennis as well as educational and family support groups. The Parish Council Clerk continued to have an office in the hall.

The Trustees worked closely with users in terms of ensuring compliance with government restrictions and guidelines to keep users as safe as possible.  We also offered advice and financial support, specifically to locally based non-profit users. We were fortunate in receiving grants from the local authority to support the hall during the “COVID period”.

Overall, our income was lower than the prior year as, in the comparative period, we were fortunate in receiving funding for replacement energy efficient lighting. However, we were pleased that the level of hall and room hire income increased substantially, year on year, illustrating the extent to which users could use the hall compared to the prior year which suffered more severally from lockdown. Whilst hire income doubled compared to the prior period, it was not back to pre-COVID levels.

The Trustees continued to focus on ensuring the hall was in good condition and as well as routine repairs and maintenance we replaced some of the corridor flooring and painted high use / damaged areas. Whilst the repairs and maintenance costs were lower than the prior year, the comparative number included the cost of the replacement lighting, referred to above, at a cost of £10,000. Other costs were broadly in line with the prior period.

Overall, we recorded a net surplus of £997 compared with £3,899 in the prior period.

During the year we started replacing the hall chairs which were more than 11 years old and had suffered from general wear and tear. This programme of replacement continues.

The Trust continued to be cash generative in the period. This is important as it is anticipated that major replacement costs will increase as the hall becomes older and the Trustees are focused on the facility being available, and maintained, for the long term, and not being reliant on future funding. 

Looking forward into 2022/23, it is anticipated that the recovery of hire income will continue and we are expecting that our cost base will also increase due to periodic maintenance of the main hall floor as well as an increase in the costs which vary depending on the halls use. We are fortunate to have fixed energy prices until early 2023.

The Trustees are very conscious of the pressures on families and indeed everyone, which is widely reported in the Press. Given this, and following consideration of the Trusts finances, we decided that we would continue with our recent policy of not increasing hire rates to users, despite anticipated increases in its costs. The Trustees hope that this would help to ensure that the hall is accessible to users during these challenging times.

The Trustees continue to have several standing agenda items which will continue to be addressed going forward. These include a focus on being environmentally friendly and reducing the hall’s carbon footprint. The Trustees are monitoring the impact of the new lighting which was installed last year as well as considering other ideas.

The Trustees have continued to develop a financial forecast to provide an insight into the potential timing and likely cost of future replacement or repair of key fixtures and fittings. This is to ensure, as far as possible, that sufficient, but not excessive, funds are accumulated and maintained to cover these future costs which are anticipated, over time, to be significant. This is likely to include for example, the cost of replacing the heating, kitchen, the main hall wooden flooring, air conditioning, and windows as well as chairs, carpets and less significant items. The development of this forecast is on-going.

Subsequent to the year end, we were pleased to welcome John Shearer as a new Trustee bringing new experience and ideas to the Trust. We continue to look for other volunteers to act as new trustees to help oversee the charity for the next decade! Please do volunteer and email or speak to the existing Trustees or Rebecca.

The Trustees appreciate the great support that Rebecca, the hall manager, provides not only to users but also to the Trustees in using her experience and knowledge to ensure the continuing success of the hall during these challenging times.

Please do monitor the website www.stanwickvillagehall.org which provides details on forthcoming and regular events.

Strategy and viability

The hall is a charity and its income is from hire and donations.  The Big Lottery Fund, which provided the majority of the funding for building the hall, has a legal charge over the hall for 20 years and their focus was, and remains, to ensure the building is sustained to provide a facility to the community.  The Trustees are mindful of their responsibility to ensure the hall is available for the long term and monitor the financial position monthly.

How you can help

In addition to hiring the hall and supporting events that take place in it, there are a number of ways in which people can help support the hall and ensure its future viability is assured. Some years ago we introduced "pledge an hour" to encourage people to help with small jobs around the hall, at a time to suit themselves, which saves the hall money.  This would benefit from further support.

Finally, on a personal note I would like to express my appreciation for the support of the Trustees during these recent and ongoing challenging times.  As noted above we are keen for new trustees to come on board to help ensure the hall is available to future generations as a viable asset and a focal point for the community.

Phil Crooks