Chairman’s Report for 2017 Annual Meeting
The Institute continued to fulfil its role as Hellifield’s village hall throughout 2016.
The Trustees welcomed Michael Duke, Karen Dunwoodie and Susan Emsley to their number during the year. Michael Duke ceased to be a Trustee in early 2017. Andrew Crabtree was re-elected Chairman of Trustees at the 2016 Annual Meeting and has offered himself for re-election at the 2017 meeting.
The Trustees now comprise Andrew Crabtree, Sheila Swinbank, Maureen Cook-Magrett, John Flitcroft, Barry Hills, Karen Dunwoodie and Susan Emsley, with one vacancy. The Trustees met formally on seven occasions during the year.
The following Trustees – Sheila Swinbank, Maureen Cook-Magrett, John Flitcroft and Andrew Crabtree – all come to the end of their fixed four-year periods of office on 30 June 2017. Barry Hills comes to the end of his fixed four-year period of office on 19 November 2017. It is expected that the majority of these Trustees will offer themselves for a further period of co-option or nomination.
The Trustees continue to operate various fund-raising activities in order to support the charging structure for room hire. The Trustees believe that hire charges should be set at a level that encourages the use of the Institute by villagers, and so they seek to augment charges by alternative sources of income. The 200 Club draw continues to be a mainstay of our fund-raising and a grant was again received from the Hellifield Beer Festival. As ever, the Christmas Concert and Play was a resounding success, both financially and socially. It is intended that, henceforth, one coffee morning per month will be run by the Trustees as a fund-raiser for the Institute itself.
There were no major items of expenditure in 2016, but monies were spent on various pieces of equipment and furnishings, as well as on a modest program of refurbishment work, in order to enhance the offering to prospective hirers. During the year we received a grant from the CDC ward member fund for the purpose of an eighteen-month trial of wi-fi in our building.
The trustees began preparations for two capital projects – a £4,000 refurbishment of the toilet facilities and a £20,000 refurbishment of the roof. Grants and donations covered 60% of the cost of the Toilet Facilities project, and we are thankful to The Craven Trust, Craven District Council, Hellifield Parish Council and Cirteq Ltd for supporting our work. The toilet facilities project was started and completed in January 2017. Thanks go to Barry Hills for heading up the project and to the team of Trustees generally for providing the decoration labour resource. Go-ahead for the Roof project was given by the Trustees following the receipt of a grant for £9,700 from the Big Lottery Awards for All fund. An appeal to villagers has provided a further £2,000 (inclusive of gift aid), and we have some hope for the success of two further grant applications with an approximate value of £3,500. There will therefore be a deficit on the funding of the project of approximately £5,000, which will have to be met from general Institute funds. It is expected that the refurbishment will commence, physically, in July 2017.
Coffee Mornings were held on virtually every Saturday of 2016, run by (predominantly) village organisations for their own fund-raising purposes. Informal sports groups (Table Tennis, Badminton and Indoor Bowls) use the institute on Monday evenings, Tuesday evenings, and Wednesday mornings respectively. Other regular users included Manorlands Cancer Support Drop-in, Hellifield Women’s Institute, St Aidan’s Mothers’ Union, Messy Church, the Flower Club, the Caving Club and Hellifield Parish Council. Unfortunately, we lost the Brownies bookings, as the group is currently in abeyance.
The institute continued to be used for private functions such as family parties and for small-scale commercial enterprises such as Yoga and Pilates classes etc., and was available for other purposes including the local polling station, a planning consultation event, and a planning protest meeting.
During the year, we delivered a questionnaire to every dwelling in the village, asking for views on the Institute. There were a good many points raised, mainly complimentary. One responder suggested that we have a meeting, annually, at which trustees and villagers would get the chance to discuss the running of the institute and aims for the future. As a result, a Social Evening is being held on Wednesday 12 April 2017, to which villagers and other village organisations have been invited.
Another issue that came out of responses to the questionnaire was a desire for a wider Entertainment programme at the Institute. The Trustees have responded to this by setting a target of six such events per year and already have in the diary, for the remainder of 2017, two travelling theatre productions, a “race night”, a “sixties night” and the perennial Christmas Entertainment evening.
The Trustees have resolved to become more active in marketing the Institute’s services with further development of the website, Facebook, Twitter, a regular column in the Parish Magazine, email and mail-drops.
Finally, I would like to thank my fellow trustees for their perseverance in what has been a challenging year in developing the Institute’s offering. There have been great demands on their private time, but all have responded willingly.
Andrew Crabtree- Chairman of Trustees - 17 March 2017