Background 

The Ruckinge Village Hall is owned by the Ruckinge Parish Council (Note: Bromley Greens Village Hall is maintained and funded by the Bromley Green Road Residents Association (BGRA) – it is not owned by Ruckinge Parish Council, however the playground, car park, and field, known as Carters Field are all owned by the Parish Council)

In 2021 the Parish Council resolved to take greater ownership and accountability for the success and the operation of the Ruckinge Village Hall.

While the Parish Council installed in 2021 a Defribulator (and another at Bromley Green Village Hall) and undertook emergency repairs as recently as April 2022, following storms which caused roof damage, over several decades the Hall has fallen behind in standards and facilities and now requires modernisation via a program of updating and renovations to make it a viable and valuable community hub.

End of Tenancy (Decision and resulting transition) 

  • The original lease between the Parish Council and the original Village Hall Committee was found, upon review, to have expired some 35 years ago and was not deemed fit for modern purposes. Throughout 2021-2022 the Parish Council sought to establish a working relationship with the Village Hall Committee. The Parish Clerk consulted with a solicitor who is a specialist in Village Halls. The advice was for the Parish Council to give statutory notice under section 25 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, to be issued in a prescribed format.
  • During July – December 2022 a transition commenced between the departing Village Hall committee (registered under Charity number: 302828), a transfer of all grant funding is due to occur at the start of December with the Charity then needing to be closed.

Current status

Usage levels are extremely low, a clear goal going forward is to see it used more frequently and to become self-revenue generating (financially) viable. The Village Hall cannot year on year rely soley upon Government grants which are always at risk of being cut or completely removed.

Going forward

From early December 2022, day to day operation of the Village Hall will become the responsibility of a new Committee of the Parish Council which will comprise members of the public as well as Parish Councillors. This new committee will be assembled throughout December 2022 – February 2023.

 Regeneration of the Village Hall and Grounds

  • Modernisation (all subject to funding).
    • Re paint inside and out
    • Replace antiquated kitchen
      • Replace cutlery / tableware
      • Update appliances (where applicable)
    • Update cleaning equipment
    • Replace bathrooms
    • Resolve damp issues
    • Resolve access/security concerns
      • Improve locks
      • Add Security cameras
    • Update lighting (to eco friendly / lower cost options)
    • Rub down main hall floor to remove scratches and apply a thick protective lacquer
    • Re configure to create a total of x3 rooms which can be used for events/meetings
    • Update / replace curtains with modern blinds
    • Box in the boiler
    • Replace main door with a security focused door
    • Create cloakroom space
  • Investigate the potential for adding electric car charging.
  • Add high-speed broadband
  • Add a projector and screen (which can easily be connected to laptop or tablet)
  • Historical images will be added to the walls so that the halls rich history can be shared by all who visit.
  • Clearing and general clean up of the car park and removal of weeds
  • Rejuvenation of the frontage – restaging, new signage, new planting

Note : Where we can, to save on costs, we will seek community support (repainting for example, could be a community call-to-action painting day), in all other cases quotes will be obtained from qualified builders, electricians, plumbers etc. Where possible, preference will be given to local businesses.

Cleaning

  • Historically a group of local residents have performed wonders to keep the building clean and tidy. As has already been communicated, their continued support is both desired and much appreciated. Their insights into ‘what is working’ and ‘what is not working’ will also be key in planning and prioritising modernisation/renovations.

Bookings

  • Provide an online booking through this website

Success Enablers (aim – to be self sustaining)

  • Start to actively promote and market the hall to increase its usage with the aim of making it self-sustaining.
    • Promotion through Parish Magazines, our Facebook Community Page, this Parish Website, other online resources, physical mail drops to local households.
  • Work in conjunction/partnership with other Parish Councils and Village Halls.
  • Work with residents and local businesses to raise awareness of the available facilities (see “what type of events” further below)

What types of events might be held ?

Looking at other village halls in Kent, these are just some of the examples of what’s happening elsewhere;

Wine, Beer, Cider Tasting | Police, Fire, Community related awareness events | Wedding receptions, Birthday parties | Charity events | Society events | Community-related recreational activities | Coffee mornings | Book Readings | Dancing | Bridge Clubs | Art Classes and exhibitions | Magic Shows | Karate, Tai Chi | Yoga | Cooking classes | Table Tennis | Film Clubs
/ Vintage Cinema | Keep fit | Meditation | Literature Clubs | Kids Clubs / Indoor Bouncy Castles | Pop up Cake and Chat | Make a Friend Club for all ages | Clairvoyant / Psychic nights | Meeting rooms for small business.

 

Current State