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Caston Village Hall, The Street, Caston, NR17 1DD

Caston Village Hall Charitable Trust


Chairman’s Annual Statements

Each year the activities for the year are reviewed and the chairman & vice-chairman are re-selected by secret ballot.  the full list of committee members can be found here.



Caston Village Hall Charitable Trust

Chairman’s Annual Report – Thursday 2nd June 2018

2017 – 2018

Clearly the highlight of the year has been the commencement of the long-awaited refurbishment of the hall structure.  Work eventually started on part of the plan on 19th November 2017 and was reopened on 31st March 2018.  Work was undertaken by Paul Lincoln and his building team and involved the demolition of the eastern end of the hall including the existing kitchen and toilets.  A new entrance porch was also created which gave added weather protection to the entrance area as well as creating much needed storage cupboards.  Hot water services were introduced and a new fitted kitchen was installed including oven and microwave facilities.

The Caston Parish Council kindly funded the new kitchen fittings.

Funding was provided from various sources including the Trust’s own funds and grants from Garfield Weston and Breckland Council.  The new facilities have been well received and the Trust is now seeking to continue with the upgrade of the remaining areas of the hall.

The overspend on the project has put considerable strain on the Trust’s funds and it is grateful to the short-term loans kindly made by five of the trustees.

The village community seriously missed the hall facility during the eighteen or so weeks the hall was closed and many organisations had to make alternative arrangements.  However, virtually all the organisations have returned to the venue.

The weekly Friday “Drop In” coffee mornings were much missed during the hall’s closure but thanks to several various diligent volunteers who man the kitchen each week the Friday morning is now firmly back on the weekly calendar.  The Trust much appreciate the work done by Kay Farmbrough and Stephanie Blincow in organising the rota and basic supplies.

The Trust also greatly values the work done by various members of the committee and much appreciate the booking roll undertaken by John and Dawn Hill following the resignation of Dave Edwards whilst Steve Farmbrough has undertaken the additional roll of facilities manager carrying out routine repairs and modification around the hall.

I have concerns regarding the number of active volunteers to help with the running of the hall on a day to day basis and folk who will willingly undertake the organising and running of money raising events.  Clearly, we need more income if we are to achieve the completion of the hall upgrade to which we aspire.  I for one would appreciate ideas as to how we can attract volunteers and enthusiastic contributors.  Many of the existing trustees and committee are reaching their more mature years and new personnel will be required to maintain the status quo.

My thanks to the trustees and committee for their input during this unusual year and I hope that we find the way forward to ensure the continuing roll of the Village Hall in our community.  In the short term we need to re-establish a positive financial situation and seek to repay the outstanding loans.

David Blincow
Caston Village Hall Charitable Trust.

June 2018


Caston Village Hall

Chairman’s Annual Report

2016 to 2017


Caston Village Hall has continued to be at the centre for much of Caston’s social and other activities.  The hall has continued to be the area’s election venue and is used by a diversity of clubs and organisations.  It has also been used for wakes and parties.  The quarterly whist drives have continued to be very popular and we are appreciative of John and Wendy Chapman who continue to organise and run this event.

The Friday morning “Drop In” for coffee and a chat is still a weekly date for many and is well supported.  Its continuing success is only possible of course thanks to the many volunteers who take turns to man the kitchen and provide various nice things to eat.   Thanks must go to the Regular management of the rota and supplies which continue to be carried out by Kay Farmbrough and Stephanie Blincow.  The monthly Frugal Lunch on the first Wednesday of each month has continued and again we thank Stephanie and Kay for this together with Wendy Chapman and Jill Branston supported occasionally by others.

There have been some changes in committee duties.  After stalwart service as the trust’s funding officer Graham Penfold handed over the task to John Hill.  We thank Graham for the many hours spent seeking funding support and we are very grateful to John for undertaking this important task.  Malcolm Valentine has been the Hall’s Booking Secretary for many years and has now passed the responsibility for this vital task to Dave Edwards.  The trust has greatly appreciated the work done by Malcolm who is now helping to oversee our building maintenance and improvement initiatives.  A new initiative has been the appointment of a Bar Secretary who oversees the sale of alcohol as and when required and this task is being ably and enthusiastically carried out by Steve Farmbrough.  The trust also continues to be thankful to Sue Ash who maintains the hall’s planters.

The refurbishment of the hall’s structure and the funding required to implement it has occupied much of the trust committee’s time.  The trust decided to undertake only part of the planned restructuring as the funding required to undertake the full project was not realistically forthcoming in the near future.  Efforts are now being concentrated on the toilet and kitchen areas and on providing an entrance porch for which estimated costs have been finalised.  It is hoped that the balance of money required for this work will be forthcoming within the next few weeks and that building works can commence late summer 2017.

I am continually grateful for the support given to the hall by my fellow trustees and the committee especially those who have taken active rolls in the hall’s management.  Mention should be made of Frank Brown who does a splendid job of overseeing our finances and Brian Brooker for maintaining the website.   However, we could still benefit, I believe, from the injection of some younger blood before too long in order that the hall can continue to remain a focal point of Caston’s varied events.

David Blincow
Caston Village Hall Charitable Trust.

22nd May 2017



Chairman’s’ Annual Report

2015 to 2016

Once again during the year 2015 to 2016 has seen Caston Village Hall feature prominently in the social life of Caston.  It continues to be used by a diversity of clubs, WI, children’s’ parties, entertainment, whist drives, wakes and weddings, election venue, and, of course, the Friday morning “Drop In”.

The Friday morning appointment for coffee and a chat is now a “must do” for many villagers and some have commented how much they look forward to their Friday morning date at the Village Hall.  Its success is only possible of course thanks to the many volunteers who take turns to man the kitchen and bake delicious offerings to tickle the taste buds.  Thanks must also go to the regular management of the rota and supplies carried out by Kay Farmbrough and Stephanie Blincow.  The monthly Frugal Lunch has also been well received and again we thank Stephanie and Kay for this together with Wendy Chapman and Jill Branston and occasionally others.

Thanks must go to Sue Ash who has continued to maintain the flower troughs, with plants from the WI, that uplifts the front appearance of our hall with colourful displays of plants and flowers.  John Chapman and his colleagues continue to keep the car park grass maintained for which we are most grateful and have also removed the kerbing stones that inhibited many motorists from parking on the grass area.

After much work the ownership basis of the hall was changed to a charitable trust and a formal trust deed was registered on 15th December 2015.  Frank Brown, with help of others, was involved in the work and frustration to bring this change about.  Sincere thanks Frank for all his efforts on this matter.

Much of Caston’s life is based on our Village Hall.  It is therefore that we have great concerns regarding the future of our building’s structure.  Our plans for upgrading the hall building are stalled following rejection of our bid for funding.  Of concern are some of the reasons why funding was refused, principally the size of our catchment and resultant relatively small numbers served which we can do little about.

Clearly the building of a new village hall at Thompson from a large private donation has done little to further our cause either and may also in time contribute to the reduction of our client base.

The trustees and committee now must formulate their strategy for the way forward.  In the short term we need to ensure that the building is safe for continued use which may require some repair funding and then see what work can be achieved in the short term to make some improvement and secure continued use of the hall.

I have concern regarding the small number of trustees and committee members that carry the burden of maintaining the hall and organising and running funding events.  Many are not getting any younger and there is a need I feel for an injection of fresh and hopefully younger blood onto the hall’s management committee if we are to continue to maintain the service to the village that the hall provides.

Finally, my thanks to my fellow trustees and committee members for their service over the past year and especially those who have participated in the running of the hall and its varied events.

David Blincow
Caston Village Hall Charitable Trust