We Made It!
The deadline for the Village Hall Committee‟s application to the Big Lottery for a grant to build a new hall was the first week in November.
We made it!
The Big Lottery made it plain that they weren‟t interested in hearing about the difficulties of living with our WWI huts, the sagging roofline, the damp, the state of the toilets and the huge electricity bills. No, what they wanted was for us to show that as a community we actually need a new hall. The way we did this was an education to everybody involved.
We learned that Husthwaite is in the top 1% of communities experiencing barriers to housing and services. We got this from the Office of National Statistics and their Indices of Multiple Deprivation. Hang about! Am I telling you that Husthwaite is a deprived area? Husthwaite – with its big houses, its 4X4s, its primary school and its pub? Yes, that‟s all true enough. But don‟t forget the shop is for sale. We have no healthcare services, post office or facilities for teenagers. For those we have to go travelling. Not so bad if you have a car, but public transport isn‟t great, and a quarter of village people are aged 65+.
Our working parties set off round the village to check up on this stuff, and they came back with plenty of evidence of vulnerable and isolated people. Older members of the community feel the isolation keenly, especially those who don‟t drive. A lot of them were sad about their friends who had had to leave the village, and this was their own greatest fear. Young people told us about being cut off from opportunities. Public transport stops before the evening, so how can they meet up with their friends in town? Older teenagers said that they needed access to training and employment services. They and younger teens asked for access to good quality sports and recreation facilities without the need for travel. Parents of pre-school children wanted supportive social contact, with access to baby clinics and opportunit1i6es for themselves to learn. Anynumber of national, regional and local studies have been done to show that Husthwaite is far from alone in these needs.
What we have going for us is a willingness by a lot of people to come forward with ideas and to volunteer their services. Some of them are not even prepared to wait for a new hall. They want to get cracking straight- away. You‟ll see some of their ideas in other parts of this Newsletter – the Book Exchange, for example, the Evergreen Club, the school bringing its Christmas party to the village hall. We need to keep our regular events going. We have a good range of societies, which are open to all- comers, but we have to admit that participation in these is uneven. There are people who never get involved.
There‟s a long way to go with our Lottery application but if we‟re successful it will be because we‟ve made a strong case for Husthwaite‟s ability to use a new village hall to face its 21st century challenges for the benefit of everybody.
We wait and see. The Lottery has until 10th March to decide if they‟re inviting us to apply for Stage 3. Then we start thinking about the building.