Update from Earlsferry Town Hall from Neil Cuthbert 1st November 2022
After the second lockdown and several repairs the Hall opened again in September 2021. COVID distancing and mask rules still applied, the Trustees were extremely careful with the ever-changing government health rules and recommendations.
Nothing was easy, however, despite this, the Hall hosted, for all ages, a great variety of community events and as time passed and restrictions eased - EEWC, private parties and functions, lectures, keep fit, a variety of fantastic concerts, an exhibition, charity fundraising (including 2 for Ukraine raising nearly £17,000), lunches, book club, coffee mornings, community council and care group, and other group meetings.
The old-style Village Show and Royal Quiz were extremely successful on the Platinum Jub Elie Saturday with a great mix of locals attending both events.
Later this month we celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Hall current building (laying of the foundation stone) and to help with this event the a cappella group “The Other Guys” from St Andrews will return to entertain on a special, hosted evening.
Also, this month is the inaugural and exciting “Conversations on the Coast” Festival, and also there’s a lecture by Iain Gale, the Wine Club Annual Dinner, and yoga every Thursday and Sunday.
Before the CAT in April 2021, the Community Cinema screened 23 films over the preceding 2 years until the 2nd hand sound system began to fail. The cinema is set to return with borrowed sound equipment in December and we hope to start Table Tennis and All Age Scottish Country Dancing in the New Year.
Due to the extended post Covid closure of the Church Hall several of their regular organisations met here instead during that time. It was a delight for the Trustees to have them here, and I take the opportunity to emphasise that ETH, an attractive venue and though ultra keen for increased community usage, takes a position of mutual benefit with other public spaces, including the Church Hall, Sailing Club and newly purchased Toll Green Hall, rather than in competition with them.
When Community Asset Transfer completed in April 2021 the building had been unused and certainly not heated or maintained by Fife Council for over 12 months. The kitchen was in very poor condition and decoration, containing a donated larder fridge, a double sink, a condemned cooker and condemned boiler and the extractor which had seized up.
By September 2021 the Hall was in the final stages of a new heating system being reinstalled and commissioned; and vital roofing repairs to tackle water ingress had just been completed along with plasterwork to the ceilings and walls.
The kitchen still has the same fridge and sink, the walls have been repaired and decorated, and an extractor, commercial standard oven, 3 hobs, dishwasher, urn, hot cupboard, fitted stainless steel shelving and electric hand dryer had been installed – all combining to provide an efficient, professional kitchen- one to be proud of. One that also meets all the necessary environmental standards.
Damp treatment in the basement, followed by electrical, plumbing works and the beginning of redecoration, professionally in the main hall and DIY by the trustees elsewhere.
Ongoing, Broadband has been introduced and an online hall booking system set up. Storage space for rental, has been created in the basement earning income for the hall.
The meeting room, has been redecorated and new window blinds fitted.
The East gable wall has been repointed by Fife Council. A reproduction door on the gable has been installed by private donation, lending a feeling of antiquity. Recently, the windows both front and rear of the building have been serviced, and now awaiting decoration.
The improvements in the past year have been achieved by receipt of small grants from a variety of funding bodies, the generosity of our Friends Program, DIY by the directors, and, particularly in the kitchen, material donations.
Whilst these repairs and renewals have been necessary and, in some cases vital, the bigger vision for the Hall is to transform the building in to a more modern, versatile meeting space, accessibility compliant, more energy efficient and sustainable for future generations. The planning of this is underway, with a design having been developed by our specialist architects, Simpson and Brown, and is now being evaluated.
The Board have appointed new directors to reform our communication skills, and a connection has been made with the University of Dundee School of Business with excellent prospects of under-graduate and post-graduate projects in marketing and communication development to assist us over the next eighteen months.
To close – what we are about is-
“The revitalising of an important iconic building, rich in local history, into a busy hub of community activity and a multi-use modern, efficient space, promoting community development, regeneration, education and recreation.”