Village Hall on brink saved at eleventh hour

The prospect of Ardentinny’s 111 year old village hall being closed and sold off was averted last night at a well attended public meeting.

Outgoing Hall Association Trustee, Jo Carr, read aloud a letter from Hunters Quay resident Agnes Harvey in which she expressed her regret at being unable to attend the meeting but volunteered to work with anyone or indeed to assume sole responsibility for ensuring that the hall in Ardentinny remained a village asset.

It was explained that the Hall Association’s constitution required two further volunteers to come forward in order to make that possible. Local residents Guy Elder and Merle Ferguson stepped up to the plate thus ensuring the continuance of the Village Hall Association as a Charitable Trust.

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Ardentinny Kids Christmas party

Maryjane and Anna hosted the annual Xmas party in the Glenfinart Hall dressed as elves this year and everyone had great fun. There were lots of games played with prizes won, and the occasional dance, all to the music played on the keyboard by Roger and his able assistant.

The children enjoyed a buffet and had a wonderful time pulling Christmas crackers and bursting all the balloons.

Alistair Bleach brought along the parachute game which has become a firm favourite.

Of course, the highlight of the day was Santa, and we look forward to seeing him and all the children again next year.

Anna Williamson.

 

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Bonfire Night Fundraiser

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Apart from the Winter chill it was like a still Summer’s evening at Ardentinny Beach on Bonfire Night. The bonfire roared away lighting up the beach, while children and adults enjoyed the warmth and goodies on sale in aid of village hall funds.

There were toffee apples, cakes and toffee with Hot Chocolate, Bovril and  Spiced Apple drinks to keep you warm on the inside. Cleverly designed natural braziers added extra warmth and provided a safe way to toast the marshmallows on sale.

Lynn Kerr

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Ardentinny’s Traditional Kids’ Xmas Party

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What has now become an established annual event, Ardentinny’s Xmas Party was thoroughly enjoyed by 30 children with parents and grandparents in the Village Hall last Saturday.

Organisers Anna and Mary Jane produced a traditionally themed afternoon with vintage games such as The Grand Old Duke of York and Musical Chairs and pianists, retired local vet and partner, provided excellent accompaniment. There was also the more unusual ‘parachute game’ and the making of a snowman.

As ever, there was a sumptuous buffet for the children while Margaret Robinson provided coffees and teas for the adults.

The ‘wee yins’ successfully beckoned Santa with several renditions of Jingle Bells till they were loud enough for him to find them.  Their reward – Santa’s own personalised gifts!

Click image to enlarge.

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Kids Christmas Fun

Xmas began early in the village hall with a party on Dec 1st for over twenty children who enjoyed lots of games, Christmas goodies and a present from Santa. The event was organised by Anna and Mary Jane who were ably assisted by many Mums, Dads, and grandparents, &, of course, Santa himself! The day was such a success that they are already thinking about next year’s.

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Cosy Den Youth Club presents…

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The pantomime programme from a production of Cinderella presented by the ‘Cosy Den Youth Club’ almost 50 years ago in the village hall. Were you there and whose names do you recognise? Thanks to Anna Williamson for these memories!

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What’s happening in Ardentinny Village Hall in December?

Monday: Bridge 19.00 – 21.00
Tuesday: Badminton 10.00 – 12.00
Tuesday: Art Club 14.00 – 16.00
Wednesday: Hobbies 19.00 – 21.00
Thursday: Carpet Bowls 14.30 – 16.30
Friday: Soup & Sandwich 11.00 – 13.30

On Fridays the most delicious homemade soup and home baking is to be found in the Village Hall and we are very proud to keep this social event going throughout the winter, weather permitting. Every month Ardentinny Community Trust takes a table to raise money for Glenfinart Walled Garden. There is also a weekly table to raise money for Clic Sargent. The Village Hall also has a table selling bric-a-brac and secondhand books to raise money for the Village Hall funds. Look out for details of our annual Christmas Drop-in which will be happening in early December (great mincemeat pies!). The Village Hall Committee would like to thank everyone for keeping alive the traditions of a village hall which has now been going for over 100 years.
Merle Ferguson

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The future of a village hall. The future of a community.

On Friday 15th October a Public Meeting was held to discuss the future of the village hall in light of all, bar one, of the current committee having resigned.  The Chair explained to the 28 attendees the necessity to find volunteers to take over the running of the hall in this unusual situation.

An initial reaction from one member was that noone could come forward without the books being completed and audited, as they should be. This assertion was corrected in that the books were completely up to date and in good order and that they were still within the OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator) time limit to have them audited. Any new committee will inherit a healthy bank balance with the Flower Show grossing an increase on last year, due largely to the highly successful auction, and additional income provided by a series of Open Mornings

After some protracted discussion about the accounts and what was required to keep the hall going, a spokesperson for a presumably pre-determined group declared that they had had a discussion and that they were willing to take things forward. It was then proposed and seconded that those volunteering to do so, be co-opted by the one remaining committee member and that they contact OSCR to ask advice about how they might proceed as co-opted members until the next AGM.

At one point a new member of the community had asked how things had got to this stage. An understandable and very relevant question. The following is a resume of events:

On 11 May 2010 the then retiring Village Hall Committee held an EGM to discuss the future of the hall in the event of there having been no volunteers to run the committee at their AGM. 7 members of the community stepped up to the plate and assumed the reins of running the hall. To say that this new committee was largely inexperienced in running the hall would be an understatement but they approached the task with enthusiasm. There were plans to introduce permanent hall signage in collaboration with the Forestry Commission and to produce high visibility temporary posters and signage to promote hall events. A questionnaire was drafted for members to elicit their views on the possibility of having internet access in the hall which, if in favour, would go to support an application to LEADER’s Rural Broadband Fund.

In view of the fact that the hall is kept alive by membership subscriptions but that the hall is used regularly by only a relatively small number of the membership in the various weekly clubs, it was decided to  ‘give back’ a little to the general membership by offering a weekly Open Morning with teas and coffees, free to members. This also provided a regular social hub for all residents and visitors where they could gather and chat and buy from charity and other stalls. The hall benefited too with regular additional income from stall table fees, sale of second-hand books and non-members’ teas and coffees.

Inevitably there were teething problems . For example, plans to run Flea Markets had to be scrapped when further research proved them to be non-viable and there was one unfortunate breakdown in communication between members who did and did not have email access. However, overall, things were going to plan, including the planning of the annual Flower and Craft Show.

It became apparent quite early on that there were rumblings of discontent in the village rumour mill but noone had approached the committee with any concerns and so the rumblings were consigned to just that – rumours. It was only at the end of July that a committee member received a call to say that members of the hobbies group were up in arms at the committee changing the name of the hall to Glenfinart Hall (the hall’s official name). The committee was astonished as it felt certain it had not changed the hall’s name but it rightly conceded that it would abide by the wishes of the majority of the membership if it wanted to change the name from its original name of Glenfinart Hall. There followed a period of robust public discrediting of the committee and a petition (see below) was organised and signed by 85 residents:

On receipt of this petition, the hall committee circulated its membership asking them to say what they would prefer their hall to be called. 70 responses were received. 41 voted to call the hall Ardentinny Village Hall while 29 voted to retain the name of Glenfinart Hall. Therefore, at the committee’s meeting on the 24th August (see minutes), which 24 hall members attended, it was agreed that future notices would carry the name Ardentinny Village Hall while the stone- engraved name of Glenfinart Hall would still remain above the door. None of the committee had a problem in accepting the democratic vote to change the name of the hall. However, what led to their resignations was the apparent demonizing of a well meaning group of people working on the membership’s behalf. It is obvious that one can never please all the people all of the time but, in an educated society, there are civilised ways of expressing grievances and negotiating solutions. This was very late in coming and was tainted by prior and continuing antagonism.

One former committee member suggested on Friday night that it might be of some consolation to the outgoing members to know that there were always such problems with the committee but that they had perhaps not been village residents long enough to have experience of it. However well-meaning the remark, this is a sad indictment of a community that appears to expect  its volunteers to abandon their self respect and submit themselves  to abuse while they continue to give of their time, money and effort in support of said community. And abuse it was. The Chair of the Public Meeting expressed her decision to resign as being due to the antagonism she had experienced over the past months. Another committee member cited bullying and there was more, which had the potential of being sub judice and therefore has no place here. That others may have been subjected to similar treatment in the past is equally indefensible and should be no justification for it to continue. Therefore, in this age of extreme need both at home and abroad, any thinking volunteer could be forgiven for choosing to channel their time and energies elsewhere.

There was a lot of talk at the public meeting of putting the past behind us and of the importance of ‘moving forward’. In order to properly move forward, we have to take account of the past, otherwise we risk just more of the same.

Some might prefer to dismiss the whole thing, putting it down to ‘typical village life’. That may be the case, depending on the village, or rather the community within it.

Communities can and do exist while tearing themselves apart. Alternatively, they can opt for a more unified and productive approach, adhering to the principles of our legal, democratic, civil, and human rights within a culture of mutual respect. The choice is ours.

The current committee is as follows:

Remaining elected member:
Merle Ferguson

Co-opted members:
Sandra Davidson (Chair)
Eileen Connell
Margo Hendry
John Ulliott
Roy Harrison
Jo Wilkinson
Buddy Laporte
Babs Marshall

Copy of Petition (August 2010)

‘To the Ardentinny Hall Association Committee

We the undersigned wish to voice our opinion on the committee decision to refer to Ardentinny Village Hall as Glenfinart Hall.

While we acknowledge that Glenfinart Hall may be the name above the door, the hall was donated to the people of Ardentinny by the Leschallas family and, as such, has since been known and valued as Ardentinny Village Hall.

Your decision to attempt to change its identity and tradition is something we feel strongly about, especially as there was no approach for discussion or consultation with the people of Ardentinny and in particular the Village Hall members.

We would like the process of the Hall Association committee paying the Forestry Commission for new name boards postponed until proper consultation has been carried in regard to what the village would prefer the hall to be called.’

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Meeting minutes 24 August, 2010.

Minutes of meeting 24/8/10.

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