Good evening everyone and thank you for coming. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Marie Justice and I have been the Chairman of the Victory Hall Trust for the past year. I am a Community Trustee, along with Caroline Aird, Miriam Smith and Carole Smith. In addition to our Community Trustees we also have space on the Trust for three Trustees from our Parish Council. Two of these spots are occupied presently by Josie Walledge and Kevin Smith. At the moment we have space for one more Community Trustee and one vacancy for a Parish Council Trustee.
At this point I would like to thank my fellow Trustees both for all they have done as Trustees of the Hall and for the considerable help and support they have given me over the past 12 months. They all give an enormous amount of time and effort on a purely voluntary basis in order to enable the Hall to run smoothly for the benefit of this community.
I would also like to thank Elaine Coles, our administrator, who many of you will be familiar with. Elaine serves as a contact point for most of you who use the hall, whether it is for new booking enquiries or issues which arise for existing users. She also provides invaluable support to the Trustees. We also have a relatively new employee; Sandra Vinnicombe, who joined us in January this year as the hall cleaner. We have had very positive feedback already about her work and I would like to thank her for her efforts so far.
As you may be aware, the Trust has been carrying out a plan to revise both the way the Hall works and to update it somewhat. This past year has been the last year of that three year plan so a huge amount of the work had been carried out already. However, we have continued on with this work which has included two large projects; the replacement of the boiler and heating system in the Hall and replacement of the fire doors in the Hall and Annex. Both of these were substantial jobs. I would like to thank all the Hall users who were extremely understanding about the upheaval during these works, particularly Coffee on the Corner and their staff who were affected. I hope that everyone who uses the Hall will agree that the doors have made a real difference to the appearance of the Hall, together with the additional decorating which has been carried out, and all users will benefit from this. There have been a few teething issues with the new heating system but these are now settling down. The overhaul has meant that we can now operate the heating remotely which will make a huge difference for the Trustees, Carole particularly, and will hopefully mean a more efficient heating system.
In his report last year the previous Chairman, Richard Pike, mentioned that the transformation of the Hall would largely be completed in time for the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War later this year. I am very pleased to say that this does look to be the case.
There is one more project we will be carrying out in the summer, which is the installation of a projector and screen and we hope this will be used for film nights and presentations.
A large amount of the work we have carried out has been possible because of financial assistance from Exminster Parish Council. I would like to thank them for their financial contribution but also for their commitment to assisting us in ensuring the Hall is bought up to date and maintained so that it continues to be a such a great resource for the community.
Overall I can say it has been another good year for the Hall with increased bookings, particularly for one off events and a couple of new regular groups which have started. I am pleased that the Hall is a place which members of the community are so keen to utilise and I very much hope this increased usage will continue.
I know we have a number of events to look forward to over the next twelve months, not least the events to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, and I hope that the Victory Hall Trust will have another successful year.