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Minutes of the first Committee Meeting – 10.30 am 28th April 2005

at the Martyrs Inn, Tolpuddle


          North:  Malcolm Allen,  Colin Rhymes

          West:  Pat Pullen,  Michael Stevenette

          Central:  Sue Chapman,  Tina Jackson

          South & Purbeck:  Mary Mathers

          Bournemouth & Poole:  Hazel Clifton

          East:  Marian Eldrett,  Baird Oldrey

          Apologies from Joyce Ball, Jean Miller, Oscar Winsey, David Vevers

Welcome & Introductions

Baird Oldrey was asked to take the chair for the inaugural meeting, until a Chairman was appointed.

Baird welcomed everyone, and asked for a short introduction from each person in order to understand where they were coming from.

Michael Stevenette is from South Perrott, a village of about 200.  He has been active on the Working Party in getting the Association started.

Marian Eldrett is from Woodlands -  a village of about 400.  Marian has tried locally forming a ‘Quintet of Villages’ to achieve the same ends, and is glad to see this Association being setup.

Mary Mathers is from Morden.  They have just built a new hall, and Mary has spent the last year controlling the project, and finding it ‘just like running a full-time small business’.

Pat Pullen is from Morebath, near Bridport.  They have recently re-done their kitchens and installed toilets for the disabled.  They need new chairs, and a sponsorship scheme has got funding for 40 already.

Tina Jackson is from Tolpuddle – a village of about 400.  Their operating Committee comprises the regular hall users, and profits go to the Church.

Sue Chapman (who joined the meeting part way through) shares the running of the Tolpuddle hall with Tina.

Hazel Clifton lives in Canford Cliffs, between Bournemouth & Poole. Her hall has just got funding of £50,000 for refurbishment.  Hazel is heavily committed with other matters, and so has arranged for Denise Winton to stand in when she is unavailable.

Colin Rhymes represents Stalbridge, a village of 2700, who have just funded developments of £230,000.  Colin was on the Working Party, and wants to be able to help other halls in the region.

Malcolm Allen comes from Child Okeford – a village of 1900.  They have 2 halls in the village – the Village Hall and the Community Centre which provides a sports pavilion.  Malcolm wants to see these working closer together.

Baird Oldrey comes from West Moors – population 7,300 and so only just a village.  Baird is Vice Chairman of the Hall, and so feels he can give more time to the DVHA.  They have just completed re-painting to help the partially sighted, and installed ramp and toilets for the disabled.

Organisation, Regions & Boundaries

There was discussion of the suggestion at the Founding meeting that we should align our regions with the Dorset District Councils.  Mary Mathers suggested that as we see more direct need for lobbying at County than District level at the moment, there would be no great need to match these boundaries.  We agreed that it was far more important that the individual Hall representatives felt free to come to whichever region was more convenient for them.

Joyce Ball, who has represented the South East corner, including Christchurch, on the Working Party was unable to be with us, and so the discussion on whether they would best fit with Poole & Bournemouth, or the Eastern region, or be a separate region was postponed to a future meeting.

We agreed to leave the boundaries as proposed so far, and allow flexibility and some settlement before reviewing again.

Appointment of Officers

Although this was agreed later in the meeting, it is minuted here to provide more logical reading.

Baird suggested that we should spread the work of operating the Association over as many members of the Committee as possible, so that no-one would feel more committees than they wanted to be.  With this in mind, the appointments were as follows:

Chairman;               David Vevers – Worth Matravers
Treasurer:               Colin Rhymes
Secretary:               Baird Oldrey
Membership:           Tina Chapman
Publicity:                 Marian Eldrett
Public Relations:       Hazel Clifton
Information Database: Baird Oldrey

Regional Chairmen and Assistants

          North:           Malcolm Allen & Colin Rhymes
          West:           Michael Stevenette & Pat Pullen
          Central:         Tina Jackson & Sue Chapman
          Poole & Bournemouth         TBA & Hazel Clifton 
Action: Baird to invite David Mizen of Canford Heath (Post minutes – David declined)
          South East:    Joyce Ball  ( to be confirmed as noted above)
          East:             Baird Oldrey & Marian Eldrett


Outline Programme for year

We plan to have 4 Regional Meetings a year with 2         County meetings, the second of which will be the AGM

Committee meetings will be held as frequently as required.  We will alternate between Thursdays & Saturdays to satisfy the widest availability & preferences of the Committee.


Halls will have free membership for the first year, after which we will set an appropriate fee to cover our anticipated running costs.  The main aim is to win hearts and minds over this first year to gain high acceptance for DVHA.

Tina will maintain the latest details on all the Village Halls, contacts & membership of DVHA.  Actions: Baird to supply current contact lists to Regional Chairmen, All to update Tina with amendments

We discussed the need for a Website, and will review this later.


Marian Eldrett will provide the information on DVHA activities to Lois for the DCA Bulletin and Village Halls Newsletter.

Hazel Clifton will handle the ‘PR’ aspects of meeting people and spreading the DVHA message as required.

Planned Activities

We need to gather information on all the Halls who wish to participate in the Association – and others where possible.  This is best done by a survey to be completed by our next meeting.

We agreed that the first Quarterly meeting for each region should be held in July.  This will be publicised by 2 mailings – the first to tell Halls about the formation of the Association and tell them they are members for free for the first year.  It should give opportunity to change the Contact details where necessary.  The second will include the questionnaire, and include a Certificate of Membership.

This Meeting should concentrate on:

  • Introducing the benefits of membership of the DVHA
  • Networking to meet other people running Halls in the area
  • Gathering ideas for future Projects
  • Gathering information on local facilities

The next main Committee meeting will be on Saturday 6th August


Baird suggested that we want to start with some projects which will provide ‘quick wins’ and show the benefits of Association membership.  Initial Projects agreed were:

Mobile Cinema

We agreed that the Mobile Cinema service provided by Moviola was very useful.  However, it appears that with the cost of a projectionist, there is a minimum economic audience of 60.  As many villages would be below this threshold,  we should investigate the feasibility of getting the necessary equipment – DVD Player & projector, amplifier, screen & speakers – and access to recent releases for Public performance.  This could then be used in our Halls under a booking scheme.  Action: Michael to investigate & report back.

Group Insurance

Sue Chapman said that they had had very good service and a good price from Arthur Savage, Insurance Brokers in Dorchester.

We discussed what needed to be covered as a minimum, and what cover users of a Hall might be expected to have themselves.  We really need more detailed information on out Halls to see how many are Non-smoking, have Sports activities etc.

Sue will contact their Broker to see whether they would be interested in arranging a Group Scheme which could help us obtain preferential rates.  Action: Sue

Hall survey

We felt that one of the best services we could provide in a short time was a knowledge of the facilities and hiring arrangements for each Hall, so we could introduce others when we were booked ourselves, and possibly share portable facilities such as chairs, display stands, projectors & screens, and the storage of these.

Mary Mathers offered to produce a questionnaire to gather this information, and collate the responses.  This will be sent out with the second mailing.

(Post minute note – Mary is making good progress with this and should have it ready before going away on 18th May.  We can also make it available as a spreadsheet for those who prefer to work electronically)

Action: Mary Mathers – produce questionnaire

Knowledge Database

The aim is to provide the means to gather useful information about the activities, fund-raising and projects that Halls do, and store it electronically, so that it can be searched to provide assistance for others with the same requirements.

Ideally, the information should be easy to input from many sources, held centrally and available to DVHA members or Committee members.  We need to retain Date, Hall, Source and confidentiality information about contributions, as well as their content.

Action: Baird Oldrey to investigate ways & means

Rate Relief

It appears that some Districts in Dorset have been talking about reducing the level of Rate Relief currently received by Village Halls.

We may need to lobby to avoid this reduction, after understanding some of the proposals and possibilities.  Lois may be able to provide some guidance here.

Pat Pullen offered to gather the information and become our ‘Rating Guru’

Action: Pat Pullen.

Hallmark Scheme

This is postponed until we have feedback from the Hall Survey and the first round of networking meetings.

National Representation

In the first instance, we are asking our Chairman to liaise with Lois Rose on what is required to help the National cause for Village Halls.

Action: David Vevers

Any Other Business

Baird Oldrey thanked everyone for their participation on the Committee, and wished all success with the first Regional meetings

The meeting closed at 1.15 in time for an excellent lunch in the pub.


Next Meeting

Saturday 6th August at 10.00 am at the Tolpuddle VILLAGE HALL – which is by the cherry tree, further to the west through the village from the pub where we have met previously.


Baird Oldrey