Frewen Close, Main Street, Northiam, East Sussex, TN31 6RA

Registered Charity Number 269218


Report of the Trustees for the financial year ended 31 December 2021


Northiam village hall was built in 1975 following the purchase of the land some years earlier by the local community from two local landowners/farmers. The buildings have since been extended to provide meeting rooms as well as a main hall, and it is now believed to be one of the largest village halls in East Sussex.


The buildings and surrounding land are held in trust by the Charity Commission’s Official Custodian, on behalf of the local community. A management committee appointed from the community in Northiam has responsibility for running the hall on a day-to-day basis. The management committee is a registered charity (Northiam Village Hall Trust) which is regulated by the Charities Commission, and is answerable to the local community at each Annual General Meeting. Trustees are appointed each year at the AGM, either elected by the community or nominated by local groups that use the hall. The work of the Trustees is governed by a Trust Deed, dating from 1971, which set the original goal of providing a village hall for use by the community, with the ongoing objective of improving the conditions of life for Northiam residents.


As of 31 December 2021 the Trust comprised 11 Trustees:

Keith Whiting (Chair); Pete Sargent (Deputy Chair); Christine Palmer (Secretary); Sylvia Wickens (Bookings Secretary); Bernie Bone (Treasurer); John Fenton; Sarah Giles; John Palmer; Richard and Sandra Robinson, and Sue Schlesinger.


In normal years, the Trust generates its income from rentals paid by hall users, supplemented by donations and fund-raising activities. Running costs absorb most of the income but, where there is a surplus, this is used to contribute towards hall improvements. All monies raised, whatever the source, are used in maintaining or improving the village hall.


As with the whole community, the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that the situation has been far from normal during both 2020 and 2021. The lockdowns and other restrictions during these two years have meant that many of our regular social groups have been unable to meet. Some of our fitness and exercise classes did continue to use the hall outside of the lockdowns, but the overall picture was one of very limited use of the hall, and a significant reduction in our regular income. The gaps in our hirings, however, have given us the opportunity to undertake some major improvements to the buildings, and we have been fortunate to receive financial assistance from a number of sources to fund these improvements. 


Our ambitious improvement programme began in 2020 and continued during 2021. The projects completed in 2021 were:


  • Replacement main front door and windows, redecorated lobby and renovated toilet areas

  • Replacement outside door for the Jenkins room

  • Installation and commissioning of an access control system on the main hall front door and Jenkins room door, linked to the hall booking system

  • Replacement of the guttering and downpipes around the whole building

  • Relaying the block paving paths from the side fire escapes

  • Replacement of the main hall and kitchen windows with double glazed units

  • Replacement fire escape doors to main hall North side, committee room and barn 

  • Complete redecoration of the main hall

  • Installation of new blinds to the main hall windows

  • Replacement of stage curtains

  • Renovation of main hall floor, by sanding and re-sealing the oak strip flooring

  • Upgrading of main hall lighting to replace the life-expired fluorescents with dimmable LED lights

  • Upgrading of the outside lighting with LED lights, now all movement-detected

  • Reorganisation of the storage barn to make more efficient use of the whole area and to provide space for library storage


It will be appreciated that all the above works were costly. Where possible, much of the labour was undertaken by the village hall committee, with specialist contractors used where necessary. All of our contractors are local firms or Northiam residents.


Funding to achieve these jobs came from the following sources:


  • National Lottery grant to provide for the refurbishment of the lobby and toilet areas

  • Grant from Sussex Community Foundation to fund the main hall floor renovation

  • Various Government income-support grants during the Covid-19 restrictions 


For the financial year ended 31 Dec 2021 our rental income was [£6,370], a similar level to 2020, but a long way short of the income achieved pre-pandemic in 2019 (£19,914). Day to day running costs at [£14,943] were increased from 2020 levels (£11,299), but include some of the minor costs of the improvements mentioned above. As with the previous year our costs were substantially lower than 2019 (£16,953). Other income of [£3,269], and fund raising and donations of [£2,951] helped to close the gap between income and expenditure, and the remaining shortfall of costs over income in 2021 was financed from the healthy cash balance that we carried over from 2020. 

The total cost of the improvement projects was [£27,090], and this was funded by grant income of £21,890, supplemented by the surplus in our reserves brought forward from 2020 (£26,416) now reduced to £18,353. 


Because of the ongoing pandemic we have not yet been able to welcome back all of our local social groups, but we are very hopeful that we will be able to do so over the first few months of 2022.


January 2022