Shock as Branscombe Village Hall may have to close

The village hall in Branscombe will have to close within weeks just a year after its refurbishment unless it can find a new chairman.

The vital local amenity is currently in breach of its constitution without a chair or deputy in place and will need to find one fast to stay open.

The hall secretary Sandi Clark said: “This situation cannot continue for long, and if no chairman can be found it may be necessary to either close the hall or to hand it over to a public organisation to run.”

At the annual general meeting earlier this month only two villagers attended other than committee members, and Sandi wants to stress others are prepared to get involved it will be a loss for the whole village.

She said: “The Village Hall is a valuable building and a great asset to the village and the general public. There is a significant financial turnover, and there is a cleaning contract. It is also licensed premises. For all these reasons the Hall requires efficient management.”

Last year the hall was completely modernised through the hard-work and generosity of villagers, who raised thousands of pounds to install renewable energy systems such as solar panels and ground source heat pumps. But the hall constitution, agreed by the charity commission, requires the committee to be led by a chairman, who is also a signatory to cheques and manages the hall and its policy.

The current committee members are able to carry on the day to day running of the hall but cannot continue to be in breach of the constitution

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Branscombe resident and Reverend, Nigel Freathy, said: “It is a real possibility that it will have to close. The Hall is not alone in experiencing problems in recruiting leaders. Other village organisations often struggle to find people prepared to give up the time to be of service to the wider community.

“The success of our village life is dependent on people coming forward to help lead our community activities.”

If you can offer your services and help Branscombe Village Hall from closure contact Sandi Clark on 01297 680106.