Village Hall in Branscombe saved from closure

The hall had been close to closure last month after it was in breach of its constitution but its doors will stay open thanks to Helen Fielden and Bill Lewens.

After a meeting of the village hall committee this week the pair agreed to become chairman and vice-chairman respectively, and will be co-opted into their positions formally at next month’s meeting.

But before they had stepped in last month village hall secretary Sandi Clark had said of the lack of chairman: “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.”

Speaking this week she said she was absolutely thrilled the situation had been resolved.

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.

If one had not been found the vital local facility may have had to go, which would have been disastrous for the village.

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Rolf Cox, who is on the committee, said it was a great relief to have Helen and Bill in place from next month.

He added the injection of some younger members on the committee will help stop this situation from arriving again, but stressed the hall still needs more people to get involved.

He said: “Hopefully people will see this wonderful village hall doesn’t just run itself and will step in to help keep it going.”