smarden charter hall



Annual General Meeting 24 May 2012

Chairman’s Report

I am pleased to report to the AGM on another successful year for the Charter Hall. After some five years of operation the Hall is now firmly established as a

venue for a wide range of community activity, and as a home for many of Smarden’s groups and societies; as well as being used for private functions, both

by villagers and those in the surrounding area. We are particularly pleased that the Hall continues to be enjoyed by so many people, of all ages.

The Management Committee has continued to concentrate during the year on ensuring effective day-to-day running of the building and its surrounds; on

continuing to implement improvements; and on promoting the Hall as an excellent venue for a wide range of activity and private functions. In this brief

report I should like to comment on the usage of the Hall, and on our costs and charges; together with a look ahead.


The Hall is now very well used, and the table below shows patterns of usage over the past three years. . We have clocked up 805 bookings in the calendar

year 2011 – an increase over 2010. Village Groups and Hall-based services made 737 bookings, and 10 bookings were made by non-village organisations.

Bookings for charity events totalled 10. Forty-six private functions were held.

Of these, 28 were children’s parties, 4 weddings, 3 funerals, and 11 general parties. This represents an increase in private functions from 2010 by some

30%. Total usage averages out at over 2 bookings every day throughout the year, and we are very pleased with this level of use.

1. Numbers of bookings

                             2009     2010    2011

Village orgs           745        726    737

Non-village orgs         9         7       10

Charity events -                    8       12

Priv. functions (vill.)  42        27        30

Priv. functions(non-vill) 11       7       16

TOTAL                 807        775      805

2. Further detail of private functions (village and non-village)

                                               2009     2010      2011

Children’s parties                        24         20          28

Wedding                                       7          5           4

Funeral                                        3           -            3

General parties                            19         9           11

TOTAL                                        53       34           46

The Hall continues to host some important community activities.

The Heritage Centre has now been operational for over 3 years, and remains highly popular. It is open every Friday morning for research. The Drop-In Centre at the Hall is

well established - for coffee, a chat, and meeting friends; and includes a healthy walking group, and advice on services available. We are very pleased that this

is so successful, and well-supported. We continue to provide valuable IT/ printing/copying etc facilities for the use of individuals and village groups. Other

regular activities include short-mat bowls, Toddlers, Computer Club, fitness classes; together with regular meetings of most village groups.

We are grateful for all the feedback we receive, by word of mouth, and in the Comments Book at the Hall. This year we introduced an occasional User Bulletin

which we hope keeps users of the Hall up-to-date with developments and usage, including actions we have taken as a result of feedback. . The first bulletin

contained a wide range of information, which included items on terms and conditions, sound system, wheelchair availability, crockery, stage safety barrier,

wi-fi access, insurance cover , and our website. We are planning a further bulletin in late summer, together with a meeting of the Hall User Forum.

The trustees have continued to strive to ensure that users of the Hall show consideration for both the Hall itself, and for our neighbours. With the great

majority of bookings this has been the case, but not always. We continue to be intolerant of any unacceptable behaviour, and take action as appropriate. This

year this has included improved signage to remind hirers of the need to leave the Hall quietly after evening events; additional lighting in the car park (currently

being installed); a simplified premises licence, including evening function closure at 11.30 ; and the employment of an evening caretaker to supervise the closedown

of the Hall after evening parties.

As a reminder to all Hall users, everything you need to know about the Hall’s operation is contained in our User Guide (in entrance lobby), and now also on the

Hall website - at . It also contains much

other useful information. Well worth a look!

Costs and Charges

The formal report of the Charter Hall trustees, and financial statements, are included elsewhere on this AGM agenda, and we have produced an easy- to -

understand summary of our expenditure and income. The uses of the Hall outlined above, including the continuing high level of bookings and careful

stewardship of our funds, and some limited fund raising, including the Charter Hall lottery, mean that our operating account remains in a healthy position.

We need to maintain a general reserve for unanticipated expenditure, and a small annual surplus for our development work. We also want to maintain low

charges for all village use, and to avoid any sudden and significant uplift in charges at any time. Taking all this into account, we have again this year decided

to freeze our charges for use of the Hall by village groups and societies in the coming year, but we have made some small increases for private functions,

proportionally greater for out of village bookings.

Looking Ahead

We now have in place the facilities that users of the Hall would expect from an excellent venue, and the Management Committee’s focus in the past year has

been largely on maintenance - things that go wrong, and things that we would like to improve. We are continuing to work with the History Society to seek

funding for an extension to the Hall, and at the time of writing a bid is being prepared to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Early feedback from the Lottery people

is positive, and they consider we have a strong case, but the process is a competitive one, and there can be no guarantee of success. If we were

successful we would be building an extension which would provide a dedicated workroom for the Heritage Centre; a Seminar Room which would be used by the

Heritage Centre , and which the Hall trustees would be able to let to outside organizations, as well as use for village meetings; and a small storage room for

general Hall use. The current Turner and Dadson Rooms would be merged into a single room, without the current walk-through of people needing to access the

back of the stage.


So many people contribute to the success of our hall, and as ever it is difficult to know where to start to say our “thank you’s“. But I would like to place on recordour grateful thanks to those who have helped us so much in the past year.

To Tom and Maggie Potts who, as joint Bookings Secretary, provide an indispensable role in handling a very high level of bookings; and to Jan Barnes

for standing in when Tom and Maggie are away.

To Nina Bromley, whose cleaning and caretaking is of the highest standard, with much feedback to this effect; and to Mick Roberts for keeping our grass cut and

our outside areas tidy.

To Geraldine Dyer who enthusiastically works as Hall administrator.

To all those involved in the work of the Heritage Centre, which has been a great success.

To the Good Neighbour Scheme Committee, for contributing so much to the success of the Drop-In Centre. And a particular thanks to Rosemary Glazier, who

so cheerfully ensures that the drop-in facilities operate so well (and also regularly fund raises to replenish stocks of tea and biscuits!)

To Angela Wilson, who so conscientiously keeps the Hall accounts, and manages all our financial processes.

To Jan Barnes, who is our ever helpful and efficient Secretary.

To Geoffrey Marchant who has patiently steered us through the intricacies of Charity Accounts, and is now taking a well-earned retirement.

To Peter Morton, who has recently taken on the role of evening caretaker.

To the WI, who happily tend the beautiful hydrangeas down the side of the Hall.

To the Hall Management Committee for all they have done during the year; and to all trustees who have willingly and unstintingly given of their time and talents to

support the management, upkeep and operation of the Hall. The sign of a wellrun Hall is that volunteer time almost always goes unnoticed - but this belies the

tremendous amount of time and effort that goes on behind the scenes. I very much appreciate the support I have received from all the trustees.

And finally, to all those people in the village who support the Hall in so many ways, who book the Hall, and who use the Hall. We hope you continue to enjoy

its use for years to come.

Mike Barkway

Chairman, Charter Hall Management Committee

Charter Hall Management Committee /Trustees

Mike BarkwayChairman) The Meeting House, Water Lane, Smarden


Angela Wilson (Treasurer) New House Farm, Mill Lane, Smarden


Jan Barnes (Secretary) 4 Vesper Cottages, Cage Lane, Smarden


Brian Bristow Lime Kiln House, Smarden 770564

Marcus Palmer Jubilee House, The Street, Smarden 770557

Gill Bromley 16 Ashenden, Smarde 770451

Carol Barkway The Meeting House, Water Lane, Smarden 770243

Eric Spear Cobwebs, Mill Lane, Smarden 770350

Alex Ferris Bakers Bridge Cottage, Pluckley Rd, Smarden. 770353

Graham Saunders Little Jubilee, The Street, Smarden 770628


Caretaking and cleaning Nina Bromley 770765

Booking Secretary Tom & Maggie Potts 770258

Charter Hall Administrator Geraldine Dye 770213

Evening caretaker Peter Morton

Auditor Geoffrey Marchant