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Village Hall Update


October’s Village Hall AGM re-elected the 4 trustees, Richard Wood (Chair), Stephen Barker (Vice Chair), Andrew Coulthard (Secretrary) and Vikki Nixon.

We also co-opted three trustees, Steve Cariss, Lawrie Hill and a very welcome newcomer to the Committee, Will Mowatt. 

Will takes over from Vikki after her four years as Treasurer. There is a space for one more co-opted –member. We plan to talk to a number of village people with a view to co-opting someone who will help the committee to achieve a balance more nearly reflecting the social make-up of the whole community. 

The Committee adopted a new Trust Deed. This was written for us, free of charge, by the York solicitors firm, Harrowells, in a deal set up by North Yorkshire Pro Help. We are very grateful to both organisations for this fantastic service.

The old Trust Deed guided us well for 19 years, the days of Maurice Hutchinson. It needed to be brought into line with many changes in charity law since those days.



Big Lottery 

the story so far

  • Bid for £400,000 made to Big Lottery for building a new village hall
  • We succeed at stage 1. 80% of applications are rejected
  • Second Village Hall Committee questionnaire asks for ideas on how best to help oldest and youngest people + other ideas
  • Village meeting attended by 40 people. 30 join 4 working parties: (i) regular users (e.g. Gardening Club, History Society)   (ii) youngest people  (iii) oldest people  (iv) ideas on extending hall to other organisations 


A meeting of the leaders of the four working parties took place in the Village Hall on 4th October. The results were remarkable, even thought the Chair (Richard Wood) had insisted on reports covering two sides of A4 (Actually he asked for one side!)

The Older People

“I want to go on living in the village.”

Andrew Coulthard reported his team had spoken to 30 people aged 55+. 

About 40% of Husthwaite’s population are in this age group. In common with all rural areas the proportion is going up faster in villages than in towns. 

What came over loud and clear from this group was the urgency of making contact with so many who are isolated. 

  • They need companionship, contact and respect. 
  • They came up with ideas that can’t wait for the Lottery bid to go through. 
  • Right now they want to reactivate the Evergreen Club, which ran from 1975 to 1992  and many of whose active members now want to get involved again.
  • They want daytime activities and they’ll need a volunteer taxi service .

 “When I was helping with the Evergreen Club I often wondered who was going to look after me when I was older.”

The Young People

Mark Gambles led this group and Sarah Aspinall made their report.

They split the age group into 3, each with separate needs: the teenagers, the primary school children, the 0-5s

The teenagers

  • For two years a successful Youth Club ran in the Village Hall in partnership with North Yorkshite Youth.
  • The Club has temporarily stopped while its main problem is sorted out. The Club was actually the victim of its own success and attracted large numbers. The difficulty was the clash between the requirements of the teenagers and the much younger children, who were not adequately supervised by parental input to the project. 

Hence the proposal to reactivate the Youth Club for High School students only.

  • North Yorkshire Youth will help again.
  • We may explore the possibility of employing a qualified and experienced youth leader

The Primary School Children

  • There is a clear demand for a regular Kids’ Club
  • They will ask for the new hall to contain facilities for indoor sports.
  • Husthwaite Primary School are interested in bringing plays, concerts and social events to the hall.

There will need to be a new understanding with parents that they are involved in this enterprise

The 0-5s

  • The Primary School runs a weekly parent and toddler group. The Headteacher confirmed her support for taking increased provision to the Village Hall
  • The Working Party made contact with the NYCC Children’s Centre at Thirsk, whose director sent an enthusiastically supportive email in favour of bringing outreach services to Husthwaite, assuming that proper modern facilities are made available.
  • The Children’s Centre services would include provision for children’s health care and for ante and post natal mothers
  • The working party recommends activities children across the 0-5 age spectrum rather than a toddlers’ group.

Use of the hall by groups, families and other organisations

  • Led by Jan Coulthard, this working party contacted The NYCC Adult Education Unit, the Library Service, the WEA and twenty Husthwaite businesses. 
  • They recommend a community café, which will include library facilities. If we lose the village shop there could be a community-led replacement, possibly with a post office arrangement.
  • The WEA are willing to put on free courses, starting with “Keeping Up with Your Children”. Both NYCC and the WEA will consider accredited distance learning courses, with weekend course support at the Hall for isolated learners. There is the suggestion that young people could help the older generation with computer skills, such as internet shopping or paying bills.
  • A Business Forum might emerge from this focus group’s work.

Consultation with Regular Users

The Gardening Club, the Drama Group, the History Society, the Parish Council and the PCC communicated by email with Richard Wood. An understanding of  the work of these organisations is vital because it gives the Lottery the baseline from which to measure what they are getting for their money. 

They also contributed ideas on how a new hall would enable them to improve and extend their activities.


The efforts of these four working parties will be crucial if Husthwaite succeeds in persuading the Lottery to award us a grant. Many thanks to all of you who took part, whether in the working teams or in contributing your opinions and willingness to get involved.