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Annual Report
AGM September 2nd 2009

The year has been a quiet one, while the interim committee waited for the new constitution to be brought to fruition. The traditional bookings have continued largely unchanged, despite a decision to raise fees to a level that reflects those charged by similar establishments elsewhere in the area. The biggest success story of the year has been the implementation of the “Browse-in”, a drop-in coffee morning run by a rota of volunteers every Saturday morning which builds on the absence of a café in the village to provide a venue both where locals can meet and socialise, and visitors can obtain a cup of tea or coffee. It has become a regular feature of village life, and the community owes a considerable debt of gratitude to Mrs Clark and her team for having set it up, and to all those who have helped out to make sure it continues to flourish. It has raised £1000 in this period alone for Hall funds which has been most welcome, but almost more important has been the focus that it has provided for the members of the community – and in particular the older members.

There has been a most welcome addition of £5,000 to the Hall’s funds from the bequest of the late Harry Archbold, and the committee would like to record its gratitude for this most generous gesture. The accounts are looking considerably more robust than they have done, because Treasurers for the last couple of years have kept the lid on expenditure in anticipation of a possible project – of which a bit more later. I would like to take this opportunity to extend the thanks of the committee to the Hon Treasurer for her untiring efforts to obtain the best deal for the Hall - wherever that deal might be found.

In the meantime, and for a variety of reasons, a number of the members of the original committee formed in May last year have resigned, leaving a very lean administration indeed. Personal circumstances have meant that those who remained have not always had as much time available as they might have wished to devote to the Hall, but an indication of what can be achieved was the extremely successful Christmas Bingo evening at the end of 2008 masterminded by Michael Robson and his team. There is no doubt of the value of the Hall as a venue if we can get the events list right!

To make the most of that potential we need to make sure that the Hall is “fit for purpose” – that it is able to meet the demands that could be made upon it. There is no doubt that it needs a degree of refurbishment – in particular the electrics. But as those present will be aware there have been other more far-reaching plans which have been proposed, potentially requiring considerable funding. We need a new committee which can actively address these alternatives, and produce possible solutions. That committee needs to be able to fund the chosen solution if it is beyond our own, modest means. It is for that reason we are proposing a change in the constitution that will, we understand, make us a more attractive proposition for funding bodies, and to that end the Charity Commission have produced a scheme which will enable a merger of the Craster Community Development Trust and the Memorial Hall. There will be more of this later in the meeting.

Michael Craster

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