A few weeks ago on a Saturday evening we went to a concert in our village hall. The evenings entertainment was provided by the Daniel Smith Blues Band. They were very good and even though I am not a blues fan I enjoyed the evening. The purpose of the evening was to raise funds towards the refit of the village hall kitchen.
Our village hall is mainly prefabricated and probably constructed of a considerable amount of asbestos, although a small extension to it was built on a few years ago. The village hall committee have had several attempts at applying to the Big Lottery Fund for a grant to rebuild our ancient and much used village hall. Our village of about 420 homes, mainly occupied by professional people and farmers, seems to be viewed as being to prosperous and affluent to qualify for a grant. Just about every day the village hall is used by a variety of clubs, classes and meeting groups. The following Friday I went to a flower arranging demonstration in the village hall. This time the funds raised were for the local hospice.
At the moment the bulk of the UK lottery funding is going towards the preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, which we in the north west are unlikely to benefit from, as the majority of the Olympic events are being held in London and the south of the country.
The village hall is at the heart of village life. If our village loses it, a lot of the community spirit will go with it. Perhaps in thirty years time when a clutch of the present residents die from asbestosis, a grant towards a new village hall will become a reality. Can the village hall wait until 2013? That is after the 2012 Olympics in London. I suppose that it will have to. In the mean time the village hall committee will continue to attempt to raise funds and to continue to patch up the old village hall when necessary.