Although the village hall is not being used again, during this third lock-down, the management committee is still working hard at managing and maintaining the building. In addition to a complete redecoration, the hall is now undergoing its annual checks for Gas Appliances, Electrical Safety and Fire Extinguishers. When, at last, a new normality is restored, the hall will be ready and waiting to welcome back its regular user groups.
In the meantime, we are grateful for all the dedicated voluntary work going on behind the scenes.
With the redecoration of the main hall completed, the next project is to improve the rear wall of the stage. We have planned the work for minimal impact on users, but for a short while there may be rather more dirt and dust around the stage area than is usual. However, when this is finished, we shall once again have a village hall to be proud of – such a pity that so few people can enjoy it at present.
However, the re-opening of the hall as Covid-19 Secure in September has allowed Pilates, Yoga, Cha Cha Chimps, Martial Arts and craft groups to return to their regular meetings. We are grateful to them all for following the Covid-19 Secure procedures.
Our website www.netherheyfordvillagehall.org has been in use for several months now. Website traffic has increased again and several new enquiries for hire of the hall are in discussion – potentially, good news for the future.
Light at the end of the tunnel – although the tunnel keeps getting longer – for us all.
New Vice-Chairman More great news – the Management Committee has a new Vice-Chairman: Joan Kirkbride.
Joan has lived in the village since 1965 and has enjoyed playing a part in village life in various capacities. She has spent many years in public service, having served on the Parish Council, District Council and County Council. She has also a been a trustee of the Bliss Charity School. Although presently engaged in other Community Trusts, she has missed being part of the village organisations. She feels she will be honoured to serve on the Village Hall Committee as Vice-Chairman, and is happy to serve in any capacity needed. We are delighted to welcome Joan to our team and are looking forward to working with her.
Re-opening of the Hall The hall was re-opened on 1st September as a “Covid-19 Secure” venue but, after just a few days, the Government announced drastic changes to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Regulations which would limit gatherings to 6 people. Or did they?
At the outset it appeared that the hall would again be closed to users, but behind the sound-bites and headlines in the guidance documents on the gov.uk website, was detail that has allowed us to continue to make the hall available to users. The pages of “Covid-19: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities”, issued by the government, includes a section on permitted activities including leisure and social gatherings.
“We recognise the importance of social clubs for some individuals and recommend that these can proceed with caution in venues that have been made Covid-19 Secure. Clubs or groups that use community facilities can begin to meet again and facility managers should follow these Covid-19 Secure guidelines to facilities that. Premises or locations following Covid-19 Secure guidelines will be able to hold more than 30 people, subject to their own capacity limits. It is important for people to maintain social distancing and good hand hygiene when visiting these spaces. People using community facilities should continue to limit their interactions with those they do not live with outside of any formal activities they are participating in to help control the virus. People meeting in a club or group context at a community centre should be encouraged to socially distance from anyone they do not live with or who is not in their support bubble.”
The hall therefore remains open for those who wish to use it, albeit with obligations on everyone to participate in maintaining the Covid-19 Secure condition. Please remember, however, that entrance to the hall remains unchanged, there is a one way system to access the washrooms, and to avoid people passing each other in the front lobby, exit will be via the front fire escape door. The Management Committee is committed to doing everything necessary to keep the hall as safe and Covid-19 Secure as possible, but if you see something that needs to be added, or could be done better, please let Peter Squire (01327 342167) know about it.
Great news – the village hall is returning to life! Under the current Government guidance, we are planning to open the hall again on 1st September.
To bring us to this stage, a great deal of work has been done, thanks mainly to the tremendous efforts of two of our Management Committee members – Peter Squire and Pat Paterson – who have spent countless hours over several weeks to interpret the many directives issued by the Government.
To re-open the hall, we must demonstrate through Risk Assessment that the building can be ‘Covid-19 Secure’. This risk assessment highlights the mitigation’s required to exclude the virus from the hall. Some of these will be actions by the Management Committee to provide equipment etc., and others will be actions required by the users. The latter are set out in a Special Conditions of Hire documents that will be supplied to all users.
Significant changes in the use of the hall will be to restrict the number of people in the hall to a maximum of 30, close the kitchen for the preparation of food and drink, and create a one-way system to access the washrooms from the main hall via the kitchen and back to the hall by the entrance lobby.
Entrance to the hall will remain unchanged but, to avoid people passing each other in the front lobby, exit will be via the front fire escape door.
Users and event organisers will be asked to hold a contact list of their members / guests, and to make that available if required by the Government’s Track & Trace system.
The Risk Assessment and the Special Conditions of Hire will be supplied to all regular users, in both the bookings and documents sections and are also on the website: www.netherheyfordvillagehall.org
If, as a non-regular user, you might consider hiring the hall but would like to know more first, contact Peter Squire on 01327 342167.
The Management Committee is committed to doing everything necessary to keep the hall as safe and Covid-19 Secure as possible but, if you see something that needs to be added, or could be done better, please let us know about it – on Peter’s number above.
And finally, when you return you will be welcomed to a newly decorated hall, in a fresh new colour scheme. We hope you like it.
Saturday 20th June – should have been our Village Hall Fete – with the same strong winds and heavy rain as last year – seems to be becoming a tradition. However, thanks to C-you-know-what, it had to be cancelled.
That’s not the only sad news for the Village Hall, as our Vice-Chair, Eve Matthews, has had to stand down. We want to record our thanks to Eve, not only for her enthusiastic and valuable contributions to our management committee meetings, but also for her willingness to help with our fundraising events. With our Events Secretary Pat Paterson, Eve worked hard at the beginning of the year, not only to help organise the village hall fete but the April garage sale too, also cancelled.
Throughout the village hall’s 60-year history, volunteers have been joining and leaving the management committee – each member bringing in fresh ideas and energy – to help ensure the hall’s continual maintenance and development into the splendid community facility that we still enjoy. As we are keen to continue this tradition by finding a successor for Eve, we have issued an invitation to Nether Heyford people to join us – please see our advertisement in this issue.
This should have been a special year for the village hall – with lots of planned events to celebrate its 60th anniversary – now on hold. However, next year we will celebrate ‘60+1’ so come and join us and help us make 2021 special instead.
Little to report, other than the village support group’s continuing work on Wednesdays to prepare and deliver food boxes to vulnerable and isolated local people – the first time the village hall has been used in this way in its 60-year history. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that, because of the enforced isolation of many of the village hall’s management committee and friends, we have been unable to clear the weeds around the area. Apologies for this – although I reckon the insect population will be enjoying the benefits.
We have just learnt that this year’s competition has been cancelled. However, we have taken up ACRE’s option to leave our submission with them for next year. Meanwhile, as mentioned in May, we have asked the Prattler to include in its June edition our 500-word statement in support of this year’s application. Whilst, because of Covid-19, most of our activities are on hold for the time being, there are several positives.
Our village’s voluntary support group is continuing to support vulnerable and isolated local people with weekly food boxes and also with prescription deliveries, both greatly appreciated.
The Foresters is running a food bank, and The Olde Sun Inn is now offering takeaway meals on Fridays and Saturdays as well as Sunday dinners.
Finally, the allotment revitalisation project in its several forms is continuing, and already showing beneficial results. I would strongly recommend that you use your exercise time to walk down and see for yourselves.
Therefore, despite these difficult times, we are indeed fortunate to live in Nether Heyford.
In this edition I had been hoping to announce the date when the NACRE judges would be visiting Nether Heyford to see our community in action. They were due to come in April or May. Sadly – for obvious reasons that will not now happen. At best, this year’s competition will be postponed until later in the year or, at worst, it will be cancelled. However, I would like to thank the many organisations who responded to my request for detailed information by sending in their completed questionnaires. Together they have helped to compile a vivid picture of our village community life in the early months of 2020.
If the judges eventually decide to cancel this year’s competition, I will ask the Prattler to publish our 500-word submission in a later edition so that you can see how fortunate we are to live in Nether Heyford.