An Update to the Hall’s History.

I’ve had the chance, due to recently received information, to correct an impression of neglect at the Hall prior to when the new committee formed in 2016. I’m happy to insert this piece into the history to set the record straight.

Bruce Hogan became involved in the Memorial Hall in 2001. Just before that, the old stone retaining wall between the recreation ground and the chapel had collapsed. The insurance company reluctantly paid for the gabion basket wall that’s now there, at one basket below its current level, but they increased our premium to a level that placed the Hall on the verge of going bust.

The committee at the time were ageing and few are still with us. Bruce immediately found affordable insurance.

At the time, the Hall was in a dreadful state of repair. The old steel-framed windows had rusted and many panes of glass were missing. They were boarded up from the inside and there was no natural daylight inside. The bay window had been converted into a cupboard for the playgroup.

The railings around the fire escape into the Health Centre car park were missing. The sub-floor ventilation had been blocked, as the air bricks were below the current pavement level and were served by wells blocked with debris. The sub-floor ventilation had also been compromised by the creation of the Athletic Club in what was once the coal cellar. The Club had no formal lease and paid rent at well below the market value initially. Bruce, however, was able to negotiate a lease with the Club. That lease was recently renewed, and the Club and the trustees continue a very healthy and good working relationship.

He managed to obtain a grant to replace the old windows with the current double-glazed PVC windows, which insulate much better against cold and noise. To minimise the noise effect on our immediate neighbours, the rear windows were made smaller. Bruce negotiated a discounted fee for scaffolding to enable walls to be built below the reduced height windows and erected the new walls himself as well as rendering the outside and plastering the inside.

The play group cupboard was removed, revealing dry rot in the bay window floor. Bruce gained funding to treat the area and he rebuilt the floor higher to improve sub-floor ventilation into the Hall itself. This is now provided by uPVC pipes he installed, visible by the bay window and war memorial.

He also installed the current railings around the rear fire escape, donating the scaffolding tubes.

Drainage from the front roof ran over the pavement, causing icing in the winter. To cure this, he created a soakaway by lifting paving slabs in front of the war memorial and removing a cubic metre of subsoil, filling the space with pea gravel and relaying the slabs.

Many other minor maintenance jobs were also done by Bruce, some as recently as last year. He’s not alone in this activity; a small core of committee stalwarts continue to do much of the maintenance work on the hall as volunteers; something we’d welcome outside help for, if anyone’s willing and able.

As treasurer, Bruce produced balanced, audited accounts, sensibly refusing to deal with petty cash, so that every penny passed through our bank accounts. This habit continues today, as a secure method of dealing with money under the rules and suggested practises of the Charity Commission.

This post is a statement of thanks to Bruce and all others involved, and an attempt to set the record straight so we can move forward in our hopes of improving facilities even further, and as a way of making public some of the dedicated work that goes on behind the scenes, often invisible to users of the Hall and the Recreation Ground. Recently, for instance, committee members, along with volunteers including some Lydbrook Players, have redecorated the interior of the hall, sanded the floor, repainted the badminton court and varnished the floor. The guttering was repaired following damage by the heavy snow, and the bay window has now been made waterproof. A new flagpole has been donated and erected, and outside lights are now fitted. We’re hoping to complete the exterior decoration over the next few months. And the recreation ground is due to be made safer and more attractive when old brambles and weeds are treated and removed. So, lots still going on.

We’re always in need of practical help, volunteer labour, both skilled and unskilled, the generosity of funding organisations, and of individuals. These facilities have served the community well for many decades. If they’re to continue in that valuable role, we need more local people to lend a hand. It doesn’t involve a great deal of time, just a few hours here and there. So, if you’re interested in doing something to help the community in which you live, please pop along to our next meeting, in the hall, at 19:00 on Tuesday, 7th August, and let us know what you can offer. Thank you. If you can’t attend, please contact us with any offers via the ‘Contact’ tab at the top of the website.

This is the first of what I envisage may be a short series of posts correcting false impressions from the past or filling in blanks in the history of the charity and its work. I invite anyone with any knowledge of, or records about, the Memorial Hall and/or the Recreation Ground, to contact me as above. We can then arrange to meet and/or exchange any documents and information. Thank you.

Working to Improve the Hall

Anthony dan on bay
Dan Jacobs (foreground) and Anthony Brooke of Elco Property Maintenance applying waterproofing to the roof of the Hall’s bay window.

We like to keep everyone in the picture about what’s happening in the Memorial Hall and on the Recreation Ground.

At present, the bay window on the hall, which has been suffering water leaks for some time, is undergoing repair and renovation work. Rain has been penetrating via cracks in the fabric and this is now being sealed to make the roof watertight. We were eager to get this done during the hot dry spell, to ensure we could seal in dryness, after the heat has removed all internal damp from the structure.

The floor of the hall has been sanded and will be revarnished, with a new Badminton Court laid down. This is due to happen in the next few days. Please be patient while this work is undertaken by volunteers. Thank you.

You’ll all be aware that the Recreation Ground is also undergoing changes. We’ve organised the removal of weeds and brambles on the slope along the Church Road side of the field. Once that’s been cleared (we’re using a contractor to apply safe weedkillers so the brambles can be removed) we’ll endeavour to keep it clear. It would be really wonderful if we could have volunteers to perform a regular strim along those slopes once the brambles have been cleared. Any good-hearted folk with the necessary equipment, time and energy would be welcomed by the Committee. Please contact us using the form on the Contacts page. If you know a Committee member, please feel free to contact them personally to offer any help. Thank you.

The wall, currently under partial demolition, running beside the pavement up the slope from the main road to the car park entrance, is still in the process of removal. This will allow both motorists and pedestrians to enter and leave the car park in more safety, and people will be able to cross the road with better views of oncoming traffic in both directions. This work is being done at no cost to the Trust, and is therefore subject to some delays, as the machinery involved is offered for hire by the company. Clearly, during the good weather, the business involved has to take advantage of paying opportunities. So, please bear with us. The job will be completed, but it will take time.

New Flagpole; New Flag!

Flag1
Work in progress

The more observant among the villagers of Lydbrook may have noticed there’s a new flagpole decorating the Memorial Hall, complete with Union Flag flying.

The old pole was in a dangerous condition and we were intending to remove it as not fit for purpose. The building would have been left without its flagpole.

Fortunately, some new neighbours of our Treasurer, Keith Newman, were happy to donate the pole from the grounds of their new home. Maxine and Terry Hannam then helped Keith and his son to erect the new pole.

So, many thanks from the Trustees to these generous villagers.

Flag2
Finishing touches.

Annual General Meeting

AGM full

On Sunday, 10th June 2018, Chair of the Trustees, Graham Williams, presented the annual report for the Lydbrook Memorial Hall and Recreation Ground committee in the hall. Keith Newman, Treasurer, also reported on the year’s spending and income and the current state of the charity’s finances. Faith Myers, Secretary, was present to record the meeting and ensure all went as required.

Many of the current trustees were in attendance, as well as a few members of the local community interested in our activities and facilities. That aspect of the meeting was a little disappointing. Perhaps the good weather kept many away in their gardens. It would have been encouraging to have more interest by local people, but most have busy lives.

AGM panel

Below is the text of the Chair’s address for those who weren’t able to attend, and anyone else who’s interested in what goes on in their local village hall and the recreation ground.

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT JUNE 10th, 2018

Good afternoon and a warm welcome to the 2018 Annual General Meeting of the Lydbrook Memorial Hall and Recreation ground charity.

The charity finds itself in a generally positive situation with more users, a higher rate of use of the facilities and improvements to the Hall which are ongoing to make the Memorial Hall and the Recreation ground more amenable for the community.

The Forest New Life Church no longer use the Hall for Sunday morning services.  We wish them well and thank them for their support during their tenure here.  However, they are continuing with their week of entertainment for children at the beginning of the summer holidays.

We have had the professional Pantaloons touring group, yoga and Zumba classes, a singing evening, a bicycle maintenance class and the Lydbrook school talent show recently.  These users are of course on top of the regular users the Lydbrook Players, the WI, the badminton club and our tenants the Lydbrook Athletic & football club.  We still have time slots available for new activities so get your thinking caps on and if you have some sensible suggestions as to how we can utilise the Hall even more then the Committee is always willing to listen to new ideas.

It must become a priority to raise more funds so that we can at least apply for grant matched funding.  The Memorial Hall is now in its nineties and is structurally sound but continually needs maintenance.  Recently we have had to repair the guttering after it was damaged during the first snow of the winter and having had work done to the bay window we find we have to spend money again as it continues to leak. Both items have highlighted the need to try and get it right first time.  This is not  easy when you are running the charity on a small budget.

As a Committee we need to ensure that work is carried out to a good standard and anything disturbed/removed is made good so that the work is done satisfactorily and will last for years without extra unexpected work.

So, what has the Committee been doing for you over the past 12 months?

The second stage of the heating has been installed in the toilets and upstairs meeting rooms.  Thanks to the Parish Council for their grant towards this.  We plan  to replace all the toilet units, install a more efficient water system and upgrade the disabled toilet to bring it up-to the current required standard.  The Hall and entrance lobby are in the process of being re-decorated and with the new lighting the memorial plaque is illuminated again – and you can see the front door to get in!

We have material quotes to renovate the front of the stage, but more analysis needs to be done to understand how best to carry out the work.   The Hall floor will be sanded and varnished this summer so that the badminton club players will be able to see the tram lines again.

Our biggest challenge this year has been the Recreation ground.  The Committees agreed intention is still to remove the stone walls either side of the car park entrance and replace them with metal railings to improve the visibility for vehicles exiting the carpark.  We have a limited budget and, therefore we were, and still  rely on the co-operation of local business to provide the machinery and carry out the work.  We apologise for this and ask for your patience and understanding while we continue to complete the work. We have contacted Gloucestershire County Council to see if we can lower the kerb on the car park entrance, but we do not know if this will be approved.

After reviewing the legal requirements and carrying out a risk assessment on the carpark area we are instigating parking permits.  There is now a dog poo bin at the front entrance and we are having to look at installing fencing to prevent the wild boar getting onto the recreation ground.

The other item to note is the proposed children’s’ playground.  The previously raised money is in a separate account and is ring-fenced, but we would need to raise a considerable amount of money to build and install such a playground and fund the insurance that we would need on an annual basis.  We do not have anything like the funds to make this happen so this will remain a pipe dream for the foreseeable future unless we find new ways of funding it.  Any suggestions and ideas are always welcome.

General maintenance continues to be carried out on both the Hall and the recreation ground.  Apart from the annual bank cutting our intention this year is to get rid of the brambles, any dead trees and dangerous or damaged metal work.

We hope to put on a family fun day on the August bank holiday Saturday, the intention being to raise money for the charity through stalls, games and a raffle.

We now have our first web-site, lydbrookmemhall.co.uk, so we can now provide up-to date information on current and upcoming events together with the monthly Committee minutes and accounts.  Copies will also be posted on the front door for those who do not have internet access.

At 11am on November 11th, 2018 the nation will mark the centenary of the guns falling silent at the end of World War One.  The service of remembrance will take place at Lydbrook Parish Church of the Holy Jesus where everyone will be welcome.  The parade and laying of wreaths will then take place at the Memorial Hall together with the observance of the two-minute silence at 11am.

Finally, I would like to thank the outgoing committee for asking me to be Chairman and for their support throughout the past twelve months which have been quite busy and secondly, on behalf of the committee I would like to thank all our benefactors for their financial support and to all of you for coming this afternoon.

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The Treasurer’s summary is available under the ‘Minutes and Accounts’ tab, above, where you’ll also find the minutes of all meetings. We’re intending to post the minutes on the doors of the Hall this year, too.

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As you’ll note, we’re intending to work on the Recreation ground toward the end of June, after the annual cutting of the banks on Church Road. We’re hoping to clear the brambles, nettles and the old trees, all the old metalwork, and anything else that needs attention. Later, we intend to apply for a grant to plant new trees on the bank.

If you’re handy with a spade, secateurs, or any other garden tools, or just willing to lend a hand shifting the weeds and rubbish to a central point for collection, please come along. We’d welcome all the help we can get. Announcements of dates and times will appear here and on the Facebooks groups for the village. Thank you.

Our New Website

interior for poster

This is the new website for the Lydbrook Memorial Hall and Recreation Ground. It was initiated on 22nd March 2018, and is currently under construction. Please be patient whilst all the necessary information and images are gathered together to present users of the facilities with a full picture.

From time to time, a short post will appear here to inform interested parties of any changes to the Hall and/or the Recreation Ground. If you have such news, please let the site editor know by using the ‘Contact’ page.