2018-19 has been another busy year for the Village Hall and surrounding areas, with continued regular usage by many local groups and private bookings.
As in previous years, the group making the most use of the hall, and contributing a very substantial amount of the YKRA’s income, is Bybrook Pre-School. Looking back several years, there was doubt around the survival of the pre-school which was competing with another village venue and receiving poor feedback about some of the hall facilities. So it is fantastic to see the pre-school thriving, extending opening hours to 5 days per week, operating before- and after-school clubs and running very successful holiday clubs, all of which contribute to the YKRA both in terms of income but also visibility to parents, many of whom also use the hall for parties and other events.
We continue to host Yatton Keynell Rainbows and Brownies, the Youth Club, fitness groups and a ballroom dancing group.
This year has also seen a change in the way that the Table Tennis club is operated, with something of a landmark in the club’s history – the retirement from day-to-day managerial duties of Vernon Hughes – an event named by himself as “Vexit”. The club now operates as a regular hirer of the hall, with a new management committee and it continues to be a valuable contributor to both the hall income and the local community.
Ad-hoc bookings continue to be strong, with several wedding receptions booked this year and regular parties and other events taking place.
Progress in completing the Read Room refurbishment has been slower than the Committee would have liked. Fundraising is ultimately the issue with £15-20,000 still required to complete the work. We have formed a fundraising group and continue to apply to a range of local and national funding bodies. We hope to progress the work over the course of 2019.
As the popular playground and other facilities on Jubilee Field reach their 10th anniversary, some of the equipment is starting to show its age. A new tyre swing will be installed shortly and repairs will be carried out to the zip wire, however we will need to set aside increasing amounts of our income to continue to maintain and replace equipment. Safety is of course our priority and we will continue to act on the outcomes of the regular inspections that are carried out on the equipment.
As mentioned earlier, we have created a dedicated fundraising group to try to accelerate our activities in raising money. The increased income from the pre-school and other bookings is welcome, however larger capital projects, such as the Read Room, require more than our day-to-day income can generate. It is no small task to complete the many pages of information that each funding application typically requires, so I am grateful to the committee members who have taken on this mantle.
Following a frustratingly lengthy banking admin process, Paul Woodcock will be handing our finances over to Chris Hutton before taking up a role with the Church PCC. My thanks to Paul for his diligent financial management and strong commitment to health and safety at the hall amongst other things during his time on the Committee.
I mentioned earlier that, after many years of managing the Table Tennis club on behalf of YKRA and sharing his knowledge of horticulture, woodwork and the finer points of competitive table tennis, as well as his scaffold tower, Vernon Hughes has handed the reins to a new management team. Vernon has been a stalwart of YKRA since way, way before my time and we hope that he makes good his promise to not be a stranger.
We also say thank you to Ann Turner who steps down after many, many years of service and hope that she will join Vernon in being an occasional attendee at our meetings, as well as continuing as a “friend of” the YKRA.
It’s easy to overlook the knowledge and experience that is lost when long-serving members step down so it is hugely valuable to be able to continue to dip into that background from time to time.
Finally, a word of thanks to the Committee for another year of service to the local community. It is worth reiterating that it is a voluntary activity which nonetheless takes a fair amount of time, so I am grateful to everyone for their commitment.