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 2016

Chairman’s Report: R Barber welcomed everyone to the meeting and spoke of a slightly different approach to the report where he would be joined by members of the Committee to speak about their different roles and responsibilities. He then reminded everyone of the organisations responsibilities:

He pointed out that the promotion of our work was largely through our monthly magazine, The Walsham Observer. Jeannie Bloomfield, the Editor, spoke of the successful introduction of promotional coloured covers for big events. She pleaded with regular contributors to submit their articles well before the advertised deadlines. She thanked Jan Hall for printing the magazine, John Hall for handling the advertising, Phyllis Lunkin for organising the collating, and the team of 25 volunteers who ensured delivery of the magazine to each and every one of the 597 households.

Ken Stockton reported no diminution in the use of our website www.walsham-le-willows.org. His plea for someone else to take over the role of webmaster was immediately answered with an expression of interest from Kevin Boardley. They will meet to discuss the matter in the near future.

Keith Rothon reviewed the use of the hall by hirers noting that wedding receptions and family parties were increasing. Income of over £7,000 was encouraging.

The Chair reported that Joan Freeborn, who with her late husband Ray, created the garden, had relinquished the responsibility for the regular upkeep of this beautiful and tranquil space. Ed Batrum had taken on the task of mowing the garden and grounds on a regular basis and Kevin Boardley had offered to keep an eye on plantings, prunings and replacements. The Post Office and the Coffee Shop continue to run on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. There are well over twenty volunteers who bake cakes and run the Coffee Shop, creating over £2,500 per year towards further building improvements. We value our contribution to, and support for, the performing arts in Walsham and Maggie Barber reviewed the visit of Eastern Angles Touring Theatre from the Sir John Mills Theatre in Ipswich. She spoke of the role of Creative Arts East in sponsoring small performing groups to perform high quality shows from both the Edinburgh, and Brighton, Fringe and bringing them to rural locations like ours. Of particular interest is the offer of a Mystery Show suitable for family groups of all ages and booked for October 15th.

Judith Thomas’ contribution is considerable. Not only does she run classes for youngsters on Thursdays, but our hall is now a registered centre for LAMDA examinations – 21 distinctions gained in the April entries. Her productions either in the hall or in Alec Russell’s garden offer these young students live performance experience alongside more senior members of Judith’s Walsham Concert Party.

Finally John Hubbard has offered to organise a performance of Country, Blues and Folk music in the hall towards the end of 2017.

Mike Wills spoke of the Fundraising Group’s commitment to running the digital cinema screenings through the autumn and winter, together with the Village Quiz. Rebooking the Honington Band was proving elusive.

To commemorate our community’s deep involvement in the First World War, 100 years ago, Ian Bartholomew spoke of the Community Council’s sponsorship of an artistic collaboration between local artist Helen Dougall and Walsham Schoolchildren. We hope to have an unveiling of the finished work in the Memorial Hall around Armistice Day later this year.

Helen Seeley spoke of the problems now being experienced in producing a Neighbourhood Watch report for The Observer due to funding cuts and lack of police personnel to provide material in an accessible form. We will discuss this at our July meeting. Representatives of the 4 Statutory Organizations on our Committee spoke of the value of the close collaboration which this allowed between our several groups.

Chair reported that we are making slow but steady progress in gathering indicative prices for work to renew the lighting and heating in the main hall together with the replacement of 3 Crittal windows and the insulation and relining of ceiling and walls to create a much cosier and energy efficient venue. In conclusion Rob Barber thanked the whole Committee for their hard work across such a variety of matters and was sorry that Secretary Judith Thomas’ workload prevented her from making a regular attendance. He personally thanked Maggie Barber for all the support she gives with emails, typing and the making of posters and tickets for events, not to mention her expertise with the sale of raffle tickets and said that without her, he wouldn’t have been able to deal with all aspects required of the Chair.

Treasurer‘s Report: I Bartholomew reported end of year balances of £4,541.42 for Community Council and £29,038.47 for the Memorial Village Hall and led those present through the details clearly summarised in the accompanying notes which will be available for detailed scrutiny on our website. He was warmly thanked for the reassuring totals and for the clarity and detail of his presentation.

Election of Honorary Officers: All were elected unopposed.

Election of Trustees and Committee:

Public Open Forum: Members felt all matters had been well discussed and in the absence of any new issues other than a work party to undertake some internal decoration, the Chair thanked everyone warmly for their participation and invited them to share some refreshment.

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, Ian Campbell and Maggie Barber.

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.

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 had 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 Maggie Barber
Vice Chairman Jeannie Bloomfield

For any queries etc, please telephone Maggie on 01359 259689

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