On Monday 22nd January, committee members from Dunsmore Village Hall Association were invited to meet Lord Gardiner of Kimble as part of his visit to the village halls here in Dunsmore, Naphill and Widmer End. Lord Gardiner is Parliamentary Under Secretary for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity and his visit was organised by Community Impact Bucks, on behalf of their umbrella organisation ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England), as part of the launch of their first ‘Village Halls Week’.
Nick Phillips, CEO of Community Impact Bucks, introduced Lord Gardiner and we were able to enjoy coffee with him whilst making the most of the opportunity to let him know what a valuable resource our hall is to this community by giving him a broad outline of the activities which take place here. One message that came from all three of the halls he visited were concerns regarding maintenance and other rising costs and he was very sympathetic to the challenges we face. As Rural Affairs Minister for RDP funding, Lord Gardiner is also interested in the problems rural communities experience in their attempts to procure high speed broadband for their homes and businesses so we didn’t waste the chance to let him know of our own situation.
Later that week, Tim, as Treasurer and I also attended a Briefing Event organised by CIB, led and facilitated by Nick Phillips. Representatives from six Buckinghamshire village halls/community buildings were invited and discussion took place on a variety of subjects pertaining to village halls, the overview of which will enable CIB to take key messages to ACRE, local and central government.
Following Lord Gardiner’s visit, I received a penned letter of thanks and congratulation for ‘fostering well-being and a community spirit in a secluded settlement’ but as I began to pass this on to those who attended on the 22nd, I felt that the accolades should go, not only to the current Committee, but to the many who have served in the past, those who organise cream teas, clubs and events, campaign for the good of the village, pick litter, clear snow, or just run an errand for their neighbour. There is a unique community spirit here in Dunsmore of which we can be justifiably proud. Long may it continue.
Chair, Dunsmore Village Hall Association