As reported earlier in Rye News, there was regime change earlier this year at the ailing New Hall in Winchelsea. Since then, an energetic new management team led by chairman Robert Holland has been busy overhauling the facilities, consulting the community on what it wants from the hall and drawing up a new business plan.
The new management committee has been holding a series of consultations with local groups as to the type of facilities that are needed in Winchelsea. The sessions have been moderated by a local resident, Hilary Roome, who happens to be a trained facilitator. These sessions have revealed a strong consensus on many issues and agreement on what needs changing. Many of the recommendations made at these sessions have already been implemented.
Over several weeks, Robert and his team have been giving the hall a much-needed deep clean. They have cleared out the lost and unwanted property and derelict furniture that has accumulated over many years. The kitchen has been repaired and re-organised. A complete set of crockery and cutlery has been purchased, and the old agglomeration of assorted odds given to charity. There is a new efficient water boiler in place of a venerable but inefficient urn. A piano of dubious musicality obstructing the ladies toilet has gone. Windows long sealed by careless painting have been opened. There is a smart new noticeboard on the front of hall. And more improvements are on the cards.
Difficult decisions remain, particularly on how much to charge for the use of the hall and whether to offer concessionary rates to regular users. Some local societies are sensitive to the “selective” charging practised by previous management committees and are urging a transparent and uniform rate of charge for community usage, in line with the recommendation of the Charities Commission. But the debate has been an entirely constructive one, which is a measure of the success of the new management committee!
Photo: Richard Comotto
Image Credits: Rye News library .