Feature: New Bempton and Buckton Village Hall is a great success

Roger Marriott outside the village hall. (NBFP PA1416-13)
Roger Marriott outside the village hall. (NBFP PA1416-13)

It cost more than £400,000 but it seems people in two headlands villages think their new village hall is worth its weight in gold.

In the first few weeks of its life new village hall between Bempton and Buckton serving a population of around 1,250 has really taken off.

The number of users, young and old, and the types of activity and entertainment on offer is continuing to grow.

Roger Mariott, chairman of the Bempton and Buckton Village Hall Committee which manages it and has described it exactly what the villages were waiting for, said: “We have something happening every day of the week except week ends and we estimate we have had around 2,000 users through the doors.”

At a well attended open meeting at the new hall in February produced a wide range of activities local people wanted to see. Some of their suggestions have already happened and more are in the pipeline and all are dependent on volunteers.

From a drop in session with free cups of tea for anyone wanting to just have a chat or see a friendly face, to carpet bowls which has four sessions a week attended by around 50 people, a chef supervised “cooking for one” classes in the hall kitchen, crafts, and the most recently a Tea Dance when more than 40 people took to the floor. A second dance is scheduled early in May. In contrast is a thriving scrabble club, a book club, and the Crafty Companions” group producing all manner of craftwork items for enjoyment and for sale. For almost all of the activities on offer there is no shortage of takers.

Earlier this month the milestone launch of a youth club for eight to 13-year-olds with its own youth leader Chris Horton and a team of volunteer helpers saw around 20 young people turn up on its first week.

A number of existing groups also use its currently low rental hall and meeting room for their own activities, among them the local U3A, University Of The Third Age group and organisations like the Brownies.

Private bookings are slowly coming in, two weddings are scheduled and there have been children’s parties.

As a result of public demand the hall hopes to run its own “Silver Surfers” sessions for people to learn how to use and get the most from computers and the internet. All of the activities help contribute to the lottery and locally funded hall’s annual running costs which the committee estimates at around £6,000 at the present time.

Things have moved so quickly an official opening event pencilled in the next week or so has had to be put on hold.

“We are a bit busy working with the two churches and the school on a WW1 Commemoration project which will involve the village hall as the venue for a special display and event of information and memorabilia plus choirs and members of the TA among other things. We are also hoping to produce a CD of everything for future generations,” said Mr Marriott.

The committee has its AGM on May 8 when it will be looking at other suggestions put forward for the hall among them a walking club, a craft club for young people, a music club and bingo sessions.

However their introduction will depend on volunteers coming forward to form and run the activities.

For more information, to act as a volunteer or for what’s on at the hall visit its website: bemptonandbuckton.co.uk.