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Huntingdon's Commemoration Hall - an update

The Commemoration Hall will re-open for community use on Wednesday, January 2nd.
An AGM of the Commemoration Hall Charity will be held at the Hall, on Tuesday, 27th November, 2018 at 7:00 pm.
The Hall is recruiting for new trustees to join the board, and for an army of local volunteers to help it run.

 
Trustees of the Commemoration Hall, Huntingdon have today announced that they are putting plans in place to re-open the Hall for community use from Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019. Following an 18-month period of closure, trustees are delighted that they are able to respond to mounting Community pressure to make the building available to the Community once again. Chair of the board of trustees, James Rowe said: “This is good news for the Hall, good news for the local community in Huntingdon, and good news for those user groups who have waited patiently while we’ve been closed.”

The Hall was closed at the end of April 2018 after a period of consultation. It was a difficult decision to make, based mainly on finance. Until April 2018, the Hall had been making a monthly operating loss of just over £1,200 but had remained open until that point with financial support from the Town Council. As that support came to an end, with the full blessing of the trustees, the decision was taken to attempt to raise at least £1M to pay for a substantial re-development of the Hall. The only alternative to redevelopment would have been a different business model, where in place of paid staff, the Hall would recruit, train and run using community volunteers.

Now that two years have nearly passed, it is clear that capital fund raising will take longer than originally planned. This will remain the long-term objective, but in response to feedback from the local community, the trustees have approved the decision to run the Hall using the volunteer business model.


What next?
For this business model to be successful, the Hall is going to need the support of our friends, colleagues, users and neighbours. Starting immediately, the Hall is recruiting in two areas:
1. We need new Trustees to join us on the Board.
2. We need an army of local volunteers who can offer their time to help us run the Hall.
Trustees
As a Charity, the Commemoration Hall, Huntingdon relies on a voluntary board of trustees responsible for the governance and stewardship of the building. There are 12 trustees in total. The Town Council, known as the ‘Custodian Trustee’ appoints four trustees to represent the Councillors, and the remaining eight trustees are appointed following an application process from interested members of the Community. At the moment, trustees are asked to hold their post for two years but are able to continue for further periods of two years should they so choose. In recruiting to the board this year, we are particularly keen to find people with the following skills:
- Finance – we need somebody to serve as treasurer
- Administration – we need somebody to serve as secretary
- Fundraising – in particular, we are looking for somebody who has experience of fundraising
in the local community.
- Volunteer management – our aim is to welcome an army of volunteers to the Hall, all of
whom will need a central point of contact on the board.


Volunteers
For the Hall to remain open while we continue to raise funds for the big re-development project, we will have to find ways of replacing what would have been paid positions in the past, with willing volunteers for the future. In particular then, we would love to hear from local people with a couple of hours a week to spare, that would be happy to help in any of the following areas:
- Opening and closing the Hall for those who have booked it.
- Cleaning
- Grounds maintenance
- Caretaking
- Fundraising
- Marketing, including social media management
- Book keeping
- Anything else that might in the short to medium term, allow us to keep the Commemoration
Hall open.

An AGM has been called for 7pm on Tuesday, 27th November.
Anybody interested in joining as either a trustee or a volunteer, should contact the Hall on the
details below in the first instance, or join us for the AGM.
With the support of the community, the board of trustees is very excited to be re-opening this
important and historic venue at the heart of Huntingdon.

For more information, or to inquire about a booking from January, 2019, contact:
James Rowe, Chair at jmrowe@outlook.com
Scott Hutchison, Project Manager at Scott.b.hutchison@gmail.com

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