A very Happy New Year to you all and a special warm welcome to the new arrivals in the village.
We are delighted to announce that Alan Titchmarsh has agreed to officially open the Village Hall on Saturday March 6 at 12:00 pm. The opening follows what has been a great year in the history of Beech Village Hall.
It was on December 17, just over twelve months ago, that the Management Committee received the official notification from the Big Lottery that our application for funding to enable us to modernise the Village Hall had been successful. Added to our own funds, with grants from Hampshire County Council, East Hants District Council and Beech Parish Council, this meant that we could now go ahead and start work on the project.
The weather in early 2009 delayed work on the footings, but sterling work by the project team ensured that the timetable did not fall too far behind schedule. With the new main hall extension walls built and the roof on, work could start on the old hall. An opening was created from the old to the new hall and a new entrance to the side of the old hall was formed. Whilst the newly laid concrete floor in the extension was drying out, the original stage and kitchen areas were dug out and floored to create the space for the Lounge and Bar. With new double glazed laminated windows installed, the new toilet facilities and kitchen in place, the new oak entrance porch was erected. Electrical, plumbing, plastering and carpentry work added the almost final touches to the project.
Here, I must express my sincere thanks to the Project Team of Phil Ladds, Norman Adams, Vic Richards and the late Mike Smith. Without their unstinting devotion to the task there would not have been a new Beech Village Hall. For those of you who have seen the result of the last twelve months work, I am sure that you will agree that we now have a facility in Beech that is the envy of many of our surrounding villages. The project however is still not finished. Apart from minor work inside the hall, outside lighting has still to be completed, car parking facilities improved, external seating installed and general landscaping. I would like to say now that we can sit back and admire, as well as enjoy, the fruits of our labour, but I am not able to. Why not? Well, because what has been achieved is just the beginning. The modernisation and refurbishment task that has nearly reached completion is just Phase I of our intention of making Beech Village Hall something that we can all feel proud of.
Phase II is the updating of the facilities at the rear of the building incorporating the old toilets and store rooms. The plan is to create a meeting/games room, a refurbished unisex toilet and kitchenette and additional storage space. To achieve this we need to raise the money to do this and so we start all over again!!! No Big Lottery funding this time. A figure of £25,000 is our target and we can only achieve this by the profits from bookings, social events, grants from local councils and, hopefully, the generous nature of Beech residents. Talking of bookings – our bookings team has been inundated with enquiries since the near completion of the hall. Every morning is now booked for most of the year and all evenings apart from Fridays (which we save for ourselves or ad hoc bookings) are taken. These regular bookings include bridge clubs, square and ballroom dancing, keep fit, art and embroidery classes. Remember too that as a Beech resident you will get a generous discount for your own bookings.
Parking at the hall can get congested at times. Cars parked at the hall should only be those using the facilities. Parking for non-users of the hall should seek permission before doing so. Try and avoid parking on the green unless instructed to do so. Double park if necessary. So the message is – please park wisely!! For those crossing the green whilst dog walking, please use the ‘doggy poo’ bin provided close to the entrance, as most of you do. This is not a council run facility and muggings here empties the bin ! shape – please see article elsewhere in this Newsletter. You can find out all about what is happening in and around Beech and especially at the hall by logging in to www.beechvillage.org.uk. Social Evenings will continue through 2010. These take place on the last Friday of every month and the doors open at 7:30pm. The bar is open and food is available. Volunteers are still needed to help with the food on these evenings so if you can give us a bit of your time please let us know, even if it is only once in the year that would be great.
It’s Your Hall
So finally, here is my usual message with which I start each year. There are over 200 dwellings in Beech with two to three times that number of adults in residence. This equates to a lot of people, with a lot of great ideas, some with time available to help in the successful running of the hall and others who would like to take an active part in the decision making processes that will see a continued future for Beech Village Hall and Recreation Ground for decades to come. It is our Village Hall, not the Trustees, neither solely for those who like to sing, dance and be merry. The Village Hall is Beech, not the pub (we have not got one), not the shop (we have not got one), and not the Community Centre (we do not want one), but it is the Centre of our Community. Let me know, or any other of my fellow Trustees, how you can help us achieve some, or indeed all, of our future goals. Contact us either in person, by letter, telephone, email, carrier pigeon, balloon or semaphore! If you wish to contact us regarding help or ideas please contact me on 563421 or by e-mail. Once again, a very happy New Year to you all and I hope to see you all at some time down at our ‘local’ – the Village Hall.