April 2019 (update)

Plans and Ideas from the new Chairman.

The financial situation at the Hall requires urgent attention. In 2017 the Hall operated at a profit of £3805 but in 2018 this had reversed to a loss of £4618 – a reduction in cashflow of £8423 in just one year. If this financial loss continues, the Hall will find itself insolvent in 3 to 4 years. The Hall provides a valuable service and venue for all the local community and is home to many charitable businesses and social clubs but, to continue operating, the running costs of the Hall cannot continue to exceed its income.

In 2018, the total expenditure of the Hall was almost £20000 whilst the total income from hiring was just over £13000 with bar profit and bank interest adding less than £2000. An unsustainable situation I’m sure you’ll agree. The reasons for this change in fortune are several but chiefly there has been a decrease in income from non-members (parties and weddings etc), a decrease in bar profits, almost no change in income from regular users and an increase in utility costs.

What is required? Quite simply, we need to improve the cashflow through increasing income and reducing costs whilst making the Hall a nice place to use. The new committee members are rising to the challenge and keen to succeed to enable the Hall to be financially viable; they are the trustees of your Hall.

Increase income
The hire fee for occasional users has been increased by 25% from £10/hour to £12.50/hour with further increases considered if appropriate.
Hire rates for regular users will also be reviewed.
A website (svhall.co.uk), social media presence and mobile phone have all been procured to increase the number of hire enquiries and these have already had a noticeable effect.
Friday night bar openings will resume from May 2019 with additional local community events to be held throughout the year.
Bar prices have been increased 9.4% from £3.20 to £3.50 per pint in line with competitors and increased wholesale costs.

Reduce costs
The electricity tariff is being reduced once the current tariff expires in June 2020.
A refund of overpaid VAT for gas is being sought which was erroneously charged at 20% instead of 5%.
The gas contract is being reviewed but the current term doesn’t expire until 2023 and there are substantial savings possible if the tariff can be changed.
There are grants and funding available for community halls so we shall be investigating these as a way of financing renovation projects.

Improve facilities
Offer a wedding package charge for the hiring of tables, chairs, cutlery, crockery and linen.
The TV will be reinstated in the bar.
WiFi will be available throughout the Hall soon.
The range of beers, ciders and spirits will be increased with an emphasis on local producers.
Card and contactless bar payments will be accepted soon.
Replacing the blinds and curtains is being researched.
Improving the interior and exterior lighting is being costed for consideration.

Ideas for the longer term
Enabling multiple users to hire different areas of the Hall simultaneously so increasing revenue.
Converting the front room into a coffee shop / meeting room.
Adding a second entrance to the side of the stage with extra storage to remove the tables and chairs.
Seeking funding for energy saving and self-production methods.
Approaching local companies for financial support and/or sponsorship.

Whilst immediate action must be taken to turn the finances around, none of this is insurmountable and I have been heartened to see how many people are rallying around to keep the Hall going. I am deeply indebted to those who have helped out so far and I am in no doubt that we shall continue to have the Hall at the heart of our village for as long as we wish. As ever, I am keen to hear your thoughts, ideas and offers of assistance (we are a talented bunch and everyone has something to offer). Please contact me with any feedback you may have and I look forward to seeing you at the Hall in the future.

Ben Williams,

April 2019 (update)

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