Walsham le Willows

Walsham le Willows Community Council

Before you read about the ‘history’ of the Community Council you can read a copy of the Chairmans report as given to the AGM of 2014

“The Chairman’s report to the AGM of the Community Council, Thursday June 5 th 2014

If you have not visited the Memorial Hall recently, you may be unaware of the completion of phase 3 of the refurbishment of the whole property. The new toilets were completed on time, just before Christmas and to an exceedingly high standard by Bob Farrow‘s building team.

In addition to its responsibility for the maintenance and use of the hall with its surrounding lands and car park, the Community Council is obligated under the conditions of its charitable status to support the educational, sporting and social welfare of our community. Our regular lettings to the Toddler Group, Badminton, Kickboxing, Fat Club, to the Horticultural and History Groups, for live music and theatre, for the Post Office and Coffee Shop demonstrate something of our involvement in these repects. In this, the Walsham Observer is central in facililating the sharing of information about the many facets of village life. Its production and distribution free to all 580 households is a demanding task every month and, after 15 years in control, Ian Toulson’s Editorship has been passed to Jeannie Bloomfield. Ian’s work as Editor has been recognised through letters of appreciation in the Observer and his nomination for a M.S.D.C. Community Achievement Award which also recognised his considerable fundraising for ourseves and other charities through his sponsored cycling at home and abroad. Thank you Ian, but we know this is not goodbye for there is more to come.

He is a member of the Hall Fundraising Group which organises Cinema evenings, the annual Village Quiz, the One Hundred Club Draw, the R.A.F. Honington Band Concerts and the St George and The Bard Supper held on April 26th. Other members of the Committee have organised the hugely successful Tim Batt Trick Show in February for youngsters, an Eastern Angles Theatre Production on May 9th and a very good Race Night on May 31st with invaluable help from the Sports Club. The one sadness during the year was the closure of the Saturday Market: Yvonne Davy Crofts idea is a good one and maybe it will return in a different format. We continue to support the Sattelite Post Office on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The associated Coffee Shop, run by some thirty volunteers, contributed £3,600 to hall funds last year. The garden, created by Joan and Ray Freeborn looks fabulous. The addition of a cold frame and potting shed will, we hope, encourage others to join us in maintaining it.

This building was constructed in the 1950’s as a memorial to those who gave their lives in two World Wars so it is fitting in this centenary year of the outbreak of W.W.1 that we remember them. Judith Thomas is the inspiration behind ‘Lest We Forget’ a commemorative event of poetry, song, dance and readings reflecting those times. It is scheduled for performance in November. Ian Bartholomew is liasing with village groups, our school, and artist Helen Dougall over his iniative to produce two new themed wall hangings to join the existing millenium wall hanging here in the hall.

I believe the achievements of this Community Council Committee are a very significant contribution to the overall health and vibrancy of our community and I thank them all for their support and hard work, not least our Honorary Officers, Treasurer Ian Bartholomew and our retiring Secretary Theresa Parim. What we do not only helps us fulfill our charitable obligations and make for a richer community life but contributes to the financial viability of the hall both in terms of revenue and our ongoing capital fundraising programme. Yes, we need money for the final phase of hall refurnishment. We have obtained some indicative costs for the remaining works which will form part of a discussion on the completion of the formal business of this meeting. I thank you for your kind attention.”

Rob Barber. 5th June 2014

Walsham le Willows Community Council was established in 1967 and was registered as a charitable trust with the Charities Commission for England and Wales, in October 1979, with the objective of providing recreational facilities, playing fields, playgrounds, community centres and other amenities of a similar character for the benefit of the community in the interests of social welfare and with the object of advancing education, furthering health, relieving poverty, distress or sickness or in pursuing other charitable objects. The Executive Committee comprises 4 honorary Officers/Trustees (Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary) plus a maximum of 14 other Elected Members (Resident individuals who are 18+ and are interested in furthering the work of the Council), and another 4 Representative Members: (Parish Council, Sports Club, Women’s institute and Parochial Church Council.)

The Trustees are, Robert Barber, Ian Bartholomew and Robert Bell.

The Council has a formal constitution (last amended on the 7th of September 1992), acting as an umbrella and resource body for the whole community.

NOTE; On May 13th 2010 the AGM took place at 7.30 in the Village Memorial Hall when a motion was put before the meeting (AND APPROVED) that the constitution is amended as follows:

Section 5 paragraph (b) currently reads "The Chairman and the Honorary Officers of the Council hold office until the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting of the Council next after their election but shall be eligible for re-election PROVIDED THAT the Chairman shall not hold office for more than five consecutive years."

This was amended to read: "The Chairman and the Honorary Officers of the Council hold office until the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting of the Council next after their election but shall be eligible for re-election PROVIDED THAT the Chairman shall not hold office for more than seven consecutive years."

The Memorial Village Hall is a separate Charitable Trust registered with the Charity commission for England and Wales. The hall was erected 'as a thanksgiving offering for victory in the second world war and as a memorial to the fallen'. In 1951 Dr. Malcolm Poign from "The Beeches" donated the land on which the hall now stands. In January 1952 Frederick Ellis, Ralph Richard Clarke and Stanley Collins signed a Trust Deed and as Trustees of the land employed an architect to draw up plans for a village hall. In 1959 the completed hall was hired out for the first time. It became a Registered Charity in July 1964. For more information see James Turners book 'Wartime Walsham' - Walsham le Willows 1939-1945.

A Charitable Trust was established by Trust Deed. The hall was built mainly by the voluntary labour of the people and craftsmen of the village. The 1.33 acres on which the hall stands is situated in the centre of the village and includes the car park and bowling green and this land is held in the name of the Trust for a public amenity in the centre of the village. The Trust was originally established for the "purposes of physical and mental training and recreation and social and moral and intellectual development... for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Parish of Walsham le Willows in the county of Suffolk and its immediate vicinity without distinction of sex or of political, religious or other opinions..."

In 1990 the Village Hall Committee stood down and its responsibilities were taken over by the Community Council. As recommended by the Charity Commissioners separate financial accounts continued to be operated for each charitable trust.

The Community Council is responsible for the upkeep and management of the Memorial Village Hall (see Village Memorial Hall Fund for things related to the Hall’s Restoration Fund). The Council acts as an umbrella organisation supporting a wide range of activities including the Mother and Toddler Group, Digital Cinema Club, Satellite Post Office, Neighbourhood Watch and Police liaison, Coffee Shop, and Touring Theatre Groups, and it directly sponsors three household competitions during the year, namely

The Observer

The Community Council publishes a monthly magazine, The Observer and distributes this, free of charge, to every household in the parish. This magazine is edited, printed, collated and distributed by volunteers from within the community. It contains up to date news of village events, detailed reviews of various stage productions etc. The magazine also contains a number of advertisements from both individuals and of various local services.

The Community Council also operates and manages this village website; i.e. www.walsham-le-willows.org . This website tends to take a broader view of the village as it is of course globally available throughout the World Wide Web.

The Memorial Village Hall

Light grey large, low, flat fairly featureless building. Several small windows, a couple of doorways. Car park are with car markings in front. Trees in background.
The Village Hall

The Village Hall has been in serious need of updating and general improvements for some years, hence the formation of the Village Memorial Hall Fund and, as can be seen by clicking on that reference the hall has now been extended, a disabled toilet and shower room has been added along with a small meeting room and a much needed storage area. And now, in January 2012, a team of volunteers has repainted the hall prior to the hanging of a new set of curtains.

In 2014 the next stage in the re-development was completed. This consisted in the closing of the Mens toilets and these were then replaced with completely new facilities in a new position which is now accessed via the entrance lobby. At the same time the Ladies toilets were also replaced with new equipment and the area was extended by incorporating the old cleaning cupboard. The Baby Changing equipment was renewed and was moved into the existing Disabled toilet.

Meanwhile the Freebody Garden has not been forgotten and this has now had the addition of a new garden potting shed.

The Community Council Committee is now - in June 2014 - looking at the next stage in this ongoing re-development which will once again require another band of fund raising.

photograph showing the inside of a large hall looking towards the end wall with two wooden doors.
The extended and redecorated Village Hall

More details and photographs can be seen on the ‘Updates’ page of this website.

Current Hire Charges:

A list opf hiring charges for the village hall.
The current hiring charges.

Keyboard / Organ available at no extra charge.

The Council is currently applying for various grants to allow the approved plans for the further refurbishment facilities at the Memorial Village Hall along with (see the Village Memorial Hall Fund

The Honorary Officers are: (In July 2014

Chairman Rob Barber
Treasurer Ian Bartholomew
Secretary Judith Thomas
Vice Chairman Kenneth Stockton

For any queries etc, please telephone Theresa on 01359 259586

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