Thursday, 24 May 2012

Cullingworth Village Hall - a tale from the Big Society

Back in the early 1970s, the villagers of Cullingworth laid their hands on the redundant Salvation Army Citadel in Keighley and moved it, every last screw and post, to the village where it has served as the village hall since 1973. Not bad for a second-hand wooden hut!

Today, the hall is showing the wear and tear of time. All those plays, play groups, pensioner lunches, parties and parish council meetings have left their toll, the roofline sags, the wooden structure doesn't quite stand up straight and the running costs don't get any lower. The management committee - led by Bryan Hobson (the new younger chairman at a mere 80 years old - replacing Ken Batchelor, who'll be 90 this August) - have decided a new hall is needed.

Which rather explains why I was at the Hall this morning along with people from Bradford Council's Estates Management to talk about how this might happen and how the Council (which owns the land) can help us along. It's early days yet but we've opened up a dialogue and now face not just the challenge of planning, land swaps and sundry bureaucracies but the need to raise around £500,000 to actually build the new hall! Any help is, of course, welcome!

Afterwards, stood in the car park in the glorious sunshine, we spoke to the couple who look after the garden at the hall. Ken mentioned that they'd not really contributed much beyond a few Marks & Spencer's vouchers to the efforts in making the Hall's flower beds look great - and they do. Yet again, a couple of neighbours have been willing to put their own time, their own money and their own care into making our village look good.

Somebody once asked what the "Big Society" was - well this it it really. Ordinary folk caring for the place where they live and for the neighbours they live by - not for money or medals but because it's what we do. Long may it continue.


No comments: