Reading Room News - up to 2020

Helmdon Reading Room now has its own website - posted 12 May 2021

For all the latest information about Helmdon Reading Room, or to make a new booking, please visit Please note that Helmdon Parish Council cannot accept any responsibility for the information or web links provided by external websites.

Helmdon Community Foundation CIO Constitution approved by the Charity Commission - posted 12 Nov 2020.

Please click here to see the approved constitution document (dated 09 October 2020).

Presentation explaining the reasoning behind our new proposed constitution for the Reading Room - posted 01 August 2020.

Click here to download a copy of the Presentation explaining the reasoning behind our proposed new constitution (PDF, 1.3MB). Final views on the constitution are required by 21st August 2020 when this consultation period will end.
For further information please contact (email) Morag Underwood at

Agenda for Reading Room AGM - Posted as Helmdon News item 28 Jul 2020

The AGM 2020 Agenda can be read by clicking this link

The Proposed New Constitution can be read by clicking this link.

Free tea and cake in the Reading Room - Saturday 10am - 12:30pm...

The Reading Room is re-inventing itself as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), with limited liability and an appropriate 21st century constitution. This has been prepared by the Reading Room Trustees and Trustees have voted in favour of the new Constitution.

There will be an Open Morning for villagers to express interest in becoming a Trustee and to submit their questions and comments. This will take place immediately following the Reading Room AGM on Saturday August 1st starting at 10am in the Reading Room.

As we are limited to a meeting of 30 people (Covid-19) we need a throughput of people rather than a mass meeting. The Reading Room will therefore be open to all from 10am until 12.30pm with Trustees present and a short presentation available to view. There will be free tea and cake available...

Four New Trustees will be needed to help run the Reading Room after the Charity Commission have approved our application and the CIO comes into existence. We are looking for people with skills in marketing/legal/facilities management/fundraising/ and any others required to run and rejuvenate a public building. There will also be additional committees to help make things happen – those need enthusiastic people too.

Your village needs you!

Tennis & Football Tomorrow On Big Screen - posted13 July 2018

The Reading Room will be open tomorrow for Wimbledon Ladies' finals at 2pm and the football world cup 3rd place match at 3pm. We might have to switch to and fro or maybe we could organise half a screen for each match! Come along and join in - it's very sociable. Buy your drinks at the pub and bring them over. On Sunday it is Wimbledon men's finals at 2pm and the Football world cup final at 4pm. I shall not be around on Sunday but if someone would like to open up and supervise the equipment just let me know.
Morag Underwood

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting - posted 07 July 2018

Annual General Meeting - Minutes
Thursday 7th June 2018 – 8.00pm
At The Reading Room

Present: Morag Underwood – Chairman
Angela Goodall – Vice Chair
Richard Foster - Treasurer
Sue Lidgley - Steward
Chris Thorpe - Cafe
Jo Kirtland – Secretary
Representatives: Jennifer Saunders Paul Underwood
Judy Cairns Audrey Forgham
Phillip Ward Cec Harrold
Doreen England Danny Moody
Alex Corrin Bill England
Cliff Netten
1. Chairman's Welcome:
The Chairman opened the meeting and welcomed all of the representatives and
residents who had come along.
2. Apologies for Absence:
Michele Rimmer, David Brookhouse, Christian Wakefield.
3. Minutes of the last AGM in May 2017:
All ok and can be signed - Judy proposed and Bill seconded.
4. Matters arising from the minutes:
There were no matters arising.
5. Chairman's Report:
During the course of the last year the Reading Room has spent £18,000 on
necessary repairs and maintenance. We were fortunate to have this money in the
bank and were able to undertake the work without recourse to fundraising. The
damp has been dealt with and the death watch beetle infestation in the timbers
under the floor of the committee room has gone, eliminating the foul, damp smell.
All the work necessitated a substantial amount of re-plastering and redecoration
with new carpets being laid in the committee room and the hall area and a new
doormat in the entrance. We also have new front doors, a new kitchen fire door
and new fascia boards around the majority of the flat roof extension. The outside of
the fire door from the extension area has been repainted. The place is looking quite
good and we have no plans to spend similar amounts on renovations this year. We
will however have to deal with problems as they arise and as a priority we need to
replace the missing tiles on the roof and deal appropriately with the offending silver
birch tree. We should also like to tidy up the entrance area by building a fitted
cupboard. The resurfacing of the floor in the main hall is still on our wish list along
with a non slip kitchen floor.
I wish to thank the members of the working committee who have put in a vast
amount of time and effort to make sure that projects were managed and
The Reading Room is now bookable by email or telephone, and by completing and
emailing a short form on the village website. The majority of bookings are received
via the website. The Reading Room availability calendar is updated on the website
every time a booking is received and a copy of the calendar for the coming month is
kept with the signing-in book in the kitchen.
I have attended a course run by ACRE on the new General Data Protection
Regulations and have produced a policy for your comment and approval. Angela has
attended a course on using social media as a tool for marketing and will tell you
about it later.
We formed a small project committee to produce a questionnaire which we put out
to the village. The results have been analysed into age groups and are displayed for
all to see. We will discuss these later.
The accounts show a very healthy financial position going forward as we move into
planning and fund raising for a new village hall.
I should like to publicly acknowledge Richard's dedication to the Reading Room
finances and say a personal and heartfelt thank you for his hard work.
6. Treasurer's Report:
Our closing balance was £15,514, a decrease of £10,688 from the previous year
end. This is entirely a result of the £18,000 spent of unavoidable and routine
repairs. The major items included were:-
The cottage boiler replaced last year but paid this year. £4200
Damp proofing including redecoration of the committee room. £5800
Replacing the floor and carpet in the committee room. £3500
Replacing the two doors and the fascia boards. £5000
£3000 of which was not invoiced in time and was paid in the
current financial year.
Fortunately receipts have increased by £1,300 to £14,034 mainly as a result of
lettings increasing by £580, the café contributing an additional £400 and donations
increasing by £260.
7. Café Report:
The cafe continues to be well supported and is now in its eighth year.
From a financial standpoint the cafe figures differ from those presented by Richard
Foster as the RR uses the standard financial year.
The cafe having been established in a January reports its figures as a calendar year.
In the year Jan - Dec 2017 the cafe contributed £1,900 to the the Reading Rooms.
In the current calendar year, Jan to end May 2018 it has contributed £900, which is
£100 down on the same period last year. Hopefully it will still shape up to be
another successful year.
I would like to thank all the volunteers, cake makers and customers who make the
cafe such a great success.
8. Auditor:
Happy to carry on with current auditor – All in favour.
9. Insurance:
We have a good deal with current insurers so happy to carry on with them – All in
9a. Social Media (as noted in Chairman's welcome):
Angela went on a course aimed at village halls etc. to make better use of current
social media. It was mainly focused on Facebook and Twitter as the two main
streams. It is useful for messages, advertising, fundraising etc. to a wider audience.
Cec raised concern about hackers and safety, but no personal information was used
to set up the Facebook page, so there is no information to be gained.
10. Review new rental structure and tariff:
A long discussion was had over various suggestions with views for and against tariffs
being aired. In short:
Funeral Tea – Suggested donation of £25. This went to a vote to have as a
suggested donation and not a fixed cost – 18 for and 9 against. Tariff has been
Promotional / Ticketed Event - £30. Alex proposed and Richard seconded. Tariff
has been amended.
Committee Room - £5. Rachel proposed and Margaret seconded. Tariff has been
Parties – Price range of £85 - £125. Morag has asked for a bit of flexibility as some
parties require the room all day to set up for the evening, and some just an hour
beforehand. To have a range give flexibility to charge for when the room is actually
being used. Bill proposed to accept the Range charge and Sue seconded. Tariff has
been amended.
All other charges/tariffs remain the same.
11. Review and agree committee structure:
Look at sub committees formed of trustees and residents who can be co-opted in,
who will work on projects and report back to trustees. This worked well with the
Village Questionnaire. Look at one for Finance and one for Maintenance. This was
proposed by Val and seconded by Richard.
Maintenance Committee: Bill England, Doreen England, Sue Lidgley
Finance Committee: Paul Underwood, Clive Preston, Chris Gartside
12. Planning for new Hall/Sports Pavilion:
Way forward – lots of things need to happen first. The lease needs to be agreed for
the piece of land. The Parish Council, Sports Club and Reading Room will liaise
together. It was questioned why it was being discussed at the Reading Room AGM,
it will affect the future and needs to be discussed so everyone is informed of what is
happening. The 2003 Parish Plan identified the need of a new facility.
13. Quotes for work / Silver Birch Tree:
The major work at the moment is to repair the roof where it has been damaged by
a nearby Silver Birch tree. A quote for the work has been obtained and the tree is
the property of Mr & Mrs Leitelmayer who have agreed to prune the tree well away
from the building.
14. Village Questionnaire results:
Interesting results and lots of positive comments. There were 110 completed which
is around 20% response.
The younger generation said about more on social media. The older generation love
it and use it frequently. Good new ideas for the RR – Saturday Café, viewing of big
sports events like football world cup, Wimbledon, Cricket Test Matches etc.
Several requests for table tennis tables to use, Chris Thorpe proposed to give this a
Make the toilets unisex – all agreed
Doorbell on back door for disabled entrance – all agreed
Disabled signage at front directing them round the back – all agreed (Rupert will be
reminded to park with space for disabled access. He has always been good at this).
Small freezer in kitchen – Advertise to see if anyone has one to donate.
15. GDPR:
ACRE had a standard policy and this has been amended to suit the Reading Room.
Chris Thorpe proposed as OK and Danny seconded. All agreed.
16. Key Register Review:
The register will be updated after the meeting.
17. AOB – Open forum discussion:
Sandwich board/blackboard needed outside for adverts and updated information etc.
18. Election of Officers:
Morag Underwood is happy to carry on – Alex Corrin proposed Morag, Chris Thorpe
seconded. All in favour.
Angela Goodall is happy to carry on – Morag Underwood proposed Angela, Danny
Moody seconded. All in favour.
Richard Foster retired from this position.
Paul Underwood said he would take on the position – Alex Corrin proposed Paul,
Chris Thorpe seconded. All in favour.
Sue Lidgley is happy to carry on for another 12 months – Judy Cairns proposed Sue,
Chris Thorpe seconded. All in favour.
As the Chairman and Treasurer are husband and wife, Morag proposed that Angela
is put as signature on the bank instead of herself.
Richard Foster was thanked for his time and help as treasurer over the years and
presented with a gift.

More World Cup Football - posted 28 June 2018

The Reading Room will be showing the England v Belgium match Thursday 28 June at 7pm for the benefit of Helmdon families. Tea and coffee will be available but please buy your drinks at the pub. £2 per person or £5 per family. See you there.

Some World Cup Football On The Big Screen In The Reading Room - posted 21 June 2018

The Annual General Meeting of the Reading Room agreed to action some of the excellent suggestions received from the village via the recent questionnaire/survey. So first off...we are going to show some of the world cup matches on the big screen in the Reading Room. The first one will be England v Panama at 1pm on Sunday 24th June to be followed by England v Belgium on Thursday 28th June at 7pm. We shall make a small charge of 2 pounds per person to cover costs. Families welcome for 5 pounds. Some tea/coffee will be available but please buy beer and wine at the pub. Hope you can make it!

Draft Agenda For The Reading Room AGM - posted 23 May 2018

Meeting to be held on Thursday 7th June 2018 at 8-00p.m
In the Reading Room

Opportunity to see the results of the Questionnaires from 7.15pm

The AGM will be followed by a short meeting (of the General Management Committee only) for the election of officers.


  • Chairman's welcome
  • Apologies for absence
  • Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 25th May 2017
  • Matters arising from the minutes
  • Chairman's annual report
  • Treasurer's annual report
  • Cafe' report
  • Auditor
  • Insurance
  • Review and agree new rental structure and tariff
  • Review and agree new committee structure
  • Planning for a new village hall/sports pavilion
  • Quotes for works / Silver Birch Tree
  • Review and agree any matters arising from Questionnaires
  • AOB and opportunity for open forum discussion

Questionnaire Responses At Reading Room AGM - posted 18 May 2018

Remember the questionnaire about the Reading Room which many of you completed? There were 110 responses - 53% of responses came through the Facebook link, 28% through the Helmdon website link and 19% were hard copies. Lots of really interesting suggestions from you all which we are sifting through. We are very grateful for all your responses. Why not come along to the Reading Room AGM on Thursday 7th June at 7:15pm to see what everyone said. We shall try to create an interesting display of responses! Meeting starts 8pm and there will be opportunity for discussion and you get a vote too! If you don't want to stay for the meeting you can disappear early. Diary date now.
Morag Underwood

Open Morning At The Reading Room - posted 11 April 2018

The Reading Room Management committee are keen to make sure that the Reading Room is used to the maximum.

In addition to the survey we are opening the Reading Room this Saturday morning, 14th April between 9.30 am and Midday for those in the village who maybe unfamiliar with the venue. Please pass on this date to anyone you know that maybe interested in coming to look round this great village amenity.

There will be tea and coffee available.
Read more and fill in the survey by using the link below:

Reading Room Survey - posted 01 April 2018

Do you know what goes on in the Reading Room? Do you participate? Would you join in if there were more varied activities? What would you want these to be?

The Reading Room Management committee are keen to make sure that the Reading Room is used to the maximum and to that end would ask you to fill in the following survey which closes on 1st May. Responses are invited from young and old. This is your chance to mould the future of the Reading Room, your village hall, so please don't waste it.

Read more and fill in the survey by using the link below:
Morag Underwood

Minutes Of The General Management Meeting Held On Thursday 22 February - posted 12 March 2018

Present: Morag Underwood Representatives: Jennifer Saunders Judy Cairns Angela Goodall Paul Underwood Cec Harrold Richard Foster Michelle Rimmer Alex Corrin Sue Lidgley Audrey Forgham Cliff Netten Chris Thorpe Barbara Buxton D. Moody Jo Kirtland C. Wakefield.



Apologies for absence:

Bill England, David Brookhouse.


Minutes of the GM Meeting 21st August 2017:

Angela Goodall proposed correct, Chris Thorpe seconded. Signed as an accurate record of the meeting.


Matters arising from the minutes:

No issues noted.


Chairman's Report:

My first 8 months in office have been a steep learning curve. A village hall is a huge resource for any village and this one is no exception. Having got to grips with much of the huge body of information available on public buildings and their legal requirements and with their finance and maintenance, I have a huge respect for Bill who has led the management of this building for many years.

With regard to safety and legislation, I can advise that the building is properly insured, we have just taken out a new fire alarm contract to ensure that the alarm is serviced regularly, we have all the necessary licences, certificates and permissions to carry out the activities which happen in the village hall. Electrical services and goods are tested as required and we try to ensure that everything is safe.

The finances are sound thanks to Richard who manages them in a meticulous fashion but they are not plentiful. We need to bear in mind the growing costs of maintaining and heating an old building whilst bearing in mind the primary object of our charity which is to provide space for the inhabitants of Helmdon to undertake recreation and leisure-time pursuits with the ultimate aim of improving the conditions of life for the population of the village.

It is my recommendation therefore that we, as a body of Trustees, need to be asking the village what they want from their village hall, taking note of village needs and making it happen. We will be talking about that later in the agenda.

My vision is to create a space in which village people of all ages can flourish and enjoy their leisure time together. There is too much unnecessary loneliness in this world and we need to do our bit to stamp it out. You will have seen the letter I sent to Trustees close to Christmas which advised that there is a possibility of some land becoming available on which to build a new village sports and leisure complex. This is land left to his nephew by farmer Williams of Priory Farm and the access would be opposite the school. Currently we are at a very early stage of looking at this proposal and there are no plans or costings as yet. But it is a very exciting prospect which I think we should all embrace and try to make it come to fruition. It may come to nothing but we owe a duty to the village to try to make it happen. If it is going to happen we will need to look very carefully at finances. Fundraising and grant resources may become a vital part of funding the running of a new building.

I see many challenges ahead for us and we are going to have to utilise to the full, all the skills and ideas you can bring to the table in the future.


Treasurer's Report:

We have only five weeks of the current financial year remaining so my forecast for the year end should be accurate subject to the final invoices for the front door and fascia boards arriving from Maple Joinery before the end of March.

An encouraging trend has been the growth in lettings which I will detail when I comment on the year end at the AGM, but it has contributed to an increased in our income of £1000. Obviously our discussions regarding improvements and vital repairs at the General Management Meeting in August have resulted in a significant increase in repairs and maintenance this year and a resulted in a reduction in the yearend balance.

The major items included in the current financial year are:-

The cottage boiler replaced last year but paid this year. £4200

Damp proofing including redecoration of the committee room. £5800

Replacing the floor and carpet in the committee room. £3500

Replacing the front door and fascia boards. £5000

These four items make up the vast majority of the £21,000 spent on repairs and maintenance leaving us with an estimated yearend balance of £13,000.


Ratify e-mail decision accept quote from Sekington & Whitehead:

It was recommended by surveyor for the committee room floor to be filled with concrete to eradicate death watch beetle. Danny Moody proposed and Angela Goodall seconded.


Agree future e-mail decision making policy:

Danny asked if a charity is legally permitted to make decision via e-mail. Morag has looked into this and ACRE advise that it is probably legal. E-mail can therefore be used for making decisions but it should be kept for emergencies. Danny Moody proposed on the terms that we had it in writing that it was OK, Alex Corrin seconded.


Cottage Lease to be re-drawn to correct the parties:

The original lease had incorrect parties listed. The RR working committee is not a legal entity, the Parish Council is the custodial trustee. Lawyers are working on it at a cost of £550. It will have same terms and conditions and an extra condition stating that a gap must be left for an emergency exit from the back of the RR down to the street. Morag has spoken to Rupert and he agrees. Danny will sort out with the Parish Council for RR Chairman to be able to sign on behalf of Parish Council. Paul Underwood proposed for Chairman to sign and Chris Thorpe seconded.



Reading Room Hire Charges:

It is not clear on village use for private use / fundraising / use of kitchen etc. Sue felt that AM / PM / Evening was better than an hourly rate. Danny felt that if what we have works, why change it. Mainly village fundraisers – why charge same as party rate when raising money for the village? It was suggested a flat rate for a ticketed event/entrance fee event. Morag proposed a rate of £40 for village organisations/residents. All agreed for this to be put forward at the AGM.

Funerals – Currently no charge for a funeral. Audrey suggested a 'donation'. Alex pointed out that people requiring a receipt for funeral costs wont be able to have one if it is a donation. Sue Lidgley proposed a standard £25 charge so we get a bit to cover heat and electric costs. Cec Harrold seconded, all agreed.


Renewal / Disposal of Committee Room Furniture:

The chairs and table have woodworm. Morag would like to dispose of and replace with a folding table and use the chairs from main hall. There was a lively discussion. Sue objected saying that it was the only room with original character of the Reading Room and she wanted that character to remain.

Looking forward Morag would like to see the room used as an information room. Angela said that moving the table to make room was a problem.


The Large Chair – Keep 9, Get rid 4.

Table and small chairs – Keep 6, Get rid 8

Pew/bench – Keep 5, Get rid 9

Majority decision was to keep the large chair and get rid of the rest of the furniture.

Piano – It is rarely used and out of tune. Do we keep and tune or sell?

A couple of suggestions, Michelle said is it worth tuning it and monitoring how much it gets used over the next 12 months. If we had a good one that was in tune, we could advertise for use for lessons. Audrey Forgham proposed we see if we can get a better one donated, Judy Cairns seconded.


Consider new Data Protection Regulations:

Morag should do an audit on who keeps what information. The only information we have is Morag has details from people on their booking forms when hiring the RR. Web-master will have information on website bookers. A sentence needs to be added to the booking conditions stating that their information is being held. Everyone was made aware of the requirements.



Village Questionnaire:

WE would like the results of this back for the AGM so discussions can be had. Danny said that this can be done on-line through Survey Monkey and also print off hard copies. Advertise it on Website / Facebook village page / Notice boards etc. A working group of about 5 people needs to be made. Morag is happy to chair and Christian Wakefield, Cliff Netten, Judy Cairns and Alex Corrin volunteered to help. Aim is to get this produced and out in March and have the results back by end of May. Suggested AGM date 7th June 2018.


Guiding Groups display area:

It would be great if the different guiding groups who use the RR regularly could display some of their work produced. Michelle is going to ask the groups for ideas on what they would like displayed and how.




Judy – the lid of the teapot has been lost. Morag approved the purchase of another teapot.

Danny – Helmdon website is changing so bookings via this will need to be looked at.

Jennifer – Can a notice be put on the front door asking it to be closed as when it is left open and it is raining the inside of the door is being saturated.

Agenda For The General Management Meeting To Be Held On Thursday 22 February - posted 18 February 2018

At 7.45pm In the Reading Room


  • Apologies for absence.
  • Minutes of the General Management Meeting held on 21st August 2017.
  • Matters Arising.
  • Chairman's Report.
  • Treasurer's Report.
  • Ratify e-mail decision of Trustees to accept quote from Sekington and Whitehead re: infill of committee room floor.
  • Agree future e-mail decision making policy.
  • Cottage lease to be re-drawn to correct the parties.
  • RR Charges – should we re-structure the way we charge? Consider charging or seeking donations for funerals? Discuss this topic to make suggestions for the AGM.
  • Discuss renewal/disposal of committee room furniture and agree how to proceed. Similarly discuss piano.
  • Consider new Data Protection regulations and how and where we hold data.
  • Consider putting a questionnaire to the village to elicit their views on how the Reading Room should serve the village in the future. Seek volunteers to agree the questionnaire. Suggest a deadline for distribution and return. Provisional date for open day to present findings to village.
  • Guiding groups area for display of work to be agreed.
  • AOB

Minutes 0f General Management Meeting Held On 21 August - posted 12 September 2017

Held at 7.30 p.m. in the Reading Room

Present: Morag Underwood, Angela Goodall, Richard Foster, Sue Lidgley, Chris Thorpe and Jo Kirtland

Representatives: Jennifer Saunders, Paul Underwood, Judy Cairns, Audrey Forgham, Cec Harrold, Alex Corrin, Bill England, and Cliff Netten.



Apologies for absence:

Danny Moody, Barbara Buxton, David Brookhouse.


Minutes of the GM Meeting 13th December 2016:

Signed as an accurate record of the meeting.


Matters arising from the minutes:

No issues noted.


Chairman's Report:

A report is only needed at an AGM, but Morag wanted to note that the Reading Room is a great place and she wants to keep it as a great place.


Treasurer's Report:

At the AGM I reported that the end of year closing balance of £26,202 was exaggerated by £4200 of unpaid invoices for the replacement of the cottage boiler which would be paid in the current year.

I have updated my forecast for the current year and included a slight improvement in the lettings helped by the two elections and the continued success of the café plus expenditure of £4500 for the damp proofing which has finally been completed. The damp proofing was more than the original estimate due to an increase in the area treated and the discovery of death watch beetle in the committee room.

My current estimate of this end of year balance is close to £22,000 with any surplus income covering the cost of the damp proofing.


General Housekeeping:

Sue Lidgley has brought some new cleaning equipment for Ruby. Sue is trying to find a large soft broom. An industrial vacuum was borrowed to clear up after the workmen had been in.



Charity Commission Scheme:

Point 3 – Object of the Charity. It is our task to comply to this and to further the object of the charity.


Trustees duties – as per ACRE document:

Page 7 – We wanted to highlight that trustees are to 'Act Together' in the administration of the charity.


Quotes for work to be undertaken:

Front Door. Quotes received from Maple Joinery and Lloyd Woodworking. Judy Cairns asked about security of having a window. Maple quoted for parliament hinges, security of these was questioned. Chris Thorpe will talk to insurers on both.

Kitchen Door. Quotes received from Maple Joinery, CN Glass, Banbury Windows & Leadwise.

Fascia Boards. Quotes received from Maple Joinery & Leadwise. Gilberts Electrics quoted for relocation of cables when fascia work is being carried out. Chris Thorpe will talk to Maple Joinery to confirm how far round the building they have quoted for.

Sue Lidgely proposed Maple Joinery carry out the work. Bill England seconded. All agreed.

Damp. Death watch beetle was found and dealt with under the window during damp proof works. It was also found that the joists under the floor are crumbling. Surveyors are going in on 31st August 17 to compile a report on this. Alex Corrin suggested work on the front door is put on hold until issues in the committee room are dealt with.

Floor in main hall. Couple of options. 1. Lightly sand and repolish with anti slip polish. 2. Sand right back to bare wood and seal. Opinions asked on what finished look we wanted. It was voted to keep a dark floor, similar to how it looks now, with a matt finish. Cec would like more information on sealing process.

Some of the chairs are missing plugs in the bottom of the legs which causes scratches on the floor. Chris Thorpe will talk to manufacturers for spares.

Lighting. Quotes from Gilberts Electrics. Main hall – remove top level strip lights and replace with 8 LED square panels in place of ceiling tiles. Extension – 4 ceiling mounted tiles as solid ceiling. After discussion it was a general agreement that this was not a priority but a thought for future improvements. Vote - 5 trustees for and 7 against – So not carried. Toilet corridor and Gents – LED light in both areas – All in favour. Sue Lidgley proposed and Bill England seconded.


  • Damp / Crumbling Joists
  • Front Door, kitchen door & fascias
  • Lighting in corridor & gents
  • Floor in main hall

Angela Goodall will look into quotes for re-decoration of damp repair work.






Keyholder Policy:

Each organisation will have a numbered key and this will be recorded. It was agreed that this was a good idea. A key register will be kept in the RR for people to sign in and out. Sue Lidgley has a file.

Bill England proposed and Alex Corrin seconded – all agreed.

NOTE: Policy will be reviewed in 12 months time



Online Calendar and Bookings:

Run online and telephone bookings at the same time and by the same person. Morag Underwood will take on this role.

Sue Lidgley asked that no banners are to be put up with cellotape/blue tac. This should be stated in the Hirers Guide.

The Hire Agreement is for 'One off' bookings, not regular group use.

Extra tariff if outside groups require use of projector/theatrical lighting £15. Angela Goodall proposed and Alex Corrin seconded.

Rewording of tariffs on website for description of hire. Audrey Forgham will update the website.




Use of Hall:

Thoughts for use for sports? Table Tennis? Morag will talk to Sports Club to see if a club could be set up. Storage of equipment will need to be addressed.



Date for review of cupboard storage:

A lot of the cupboards need a spring clean to maximise space. Also sort through which cupboards need to be kept locked and which don't. All trustees will be invited to do this on Saturday 9th September 2017 @ 9am. Key issuing will be done at the same time.




A vote of thanks to Cec Harrold during his position as vice chair. This should have been done at the AGM but was missed. Apologies to Cec and Thank you for all you have done.

Cupboard Discussion/Key Distribution Meeting - posted 23 August 2017

Village representatives are kindly invited to come to the Reading Room on Saturday 09 September at 9.a.m. when there will be a discussion about the use of the cupboards and allocation of keys to village groups.

Morag Underwood

Agenda For General Management Meeting To Be Held On 21 August - posted 14 August 2017

Time: 7.30 p.m. in the Reading Room


  1. Apologies for absence
  2. Minutes of the General Management Meeting held on 13th December 2016
  • Matters Arising.
  • Chairman's Report
  • Treasurer's Report
  • General Housekeeping
  • Review the objects of the charity as laid down in the Charity Commission Scheme (attached)
  • Understanding of Trustees duties as laid out in ACRE document (attached)
  • Quotes for work to be undertaken. To review and decide on acceptability and priority of quotes
  • Keys. To review new keyholder policy and management of keyholder database
  • Online calendar and email bookings now in use. Review manual booking system. Review booking paperwork (attached). Clarify and simplify tariffs. Marketing the hall
  • Discuss use of the hall for sport such as table tennis
  • Agree date for review of cupboard storage available to groups and keys to those cupboards
  • AOB

Minutetes Of The AGM Held On Wedesday 25 May posted 30 May 2017

Bill England - Chairman
Cec Harrold – Vice Chairman
Richard Foster - Treasurer
Chris Thorpe – Village Cafe
Doreen England - Steward
Jo Kirtland – Secretary

Jennifer Saunders
Michelle Rimmer
Paul Underwood
Judy Cairns
Audrey Forgham
Sue Lidgley
Barbara Buxton
Danny Moody
Morag Underwood
Angela Goodall

  • The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.
  • Apologies:

No apologies received.

  • Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on the 30th June 2016:

These were signed as an accurate record of the meeting.

  • Matters arising from previous minutes:

No matters arising.

  • Chairman's Annual Report:

"2016/17 has once again been very successful for the Reading Room, with the hall being used most nights of the week and quite a few weekends. Financially its doing OK, as Richard will report in a few minutes. A new boiler has been installed in the cottage which has led to a very happy chappie tenant. We have been without a slot meter for the use of electricity in the kitchen for some little while, reason for this is a slot meter for the capacity of loading the kitchen is subject to, at certain times, is not available, we will be talking about this later on in the agenda.

As most of you know Doreen and myself will be retiring as your Steward and Chairman, we have finally decided to hang the gloves up. It has been an interesting journey over the last 17 years, when I took over, sometimes it was easy going, but sometimes it was a damn hard slog, but over those years, I realise how many people out there were always up for it, helping out, rising funds, and generally jut being supportive. Those of you who can remember just what the Reading Room was like all of those years ago, and what it is now, will know where I am coming from.

So if I can offer a bit of advice to the new regime. Learn how the Reading Room works, refer to the constitution, or scheme as it is called, this was agreed by members of the Reading Room Committee and the Charity Commission in 1979. The secretary has a copy, and I am sure she will let you have a peek, if you ask nicely. The Reading Room is actually owned by the people in the area of benefit, in other words us, with the custodial trustees being the Parish Council. I am telling you this , because I would hate to see the real function of this hall disappear in the midst of time, after the hard work that has been put into it in the past. Please remember the members of the parish make the decisions, not any one person, that is why we have an AGM, this is where decisions are made and rules are changed, these changes are then carried out by the Working Committee. It is all to easy to say, we don't like this rule, lets change it to suit our purpose, that is a decision for members of the public. Hopefully I will be serving on the committee as a representative of The 200 Club, and I wish whoever takes over, success, and hope you are afforded the support and friendship that we have been.

On behalf of Doreen and myself, I would like to thank everybody who have supported, worked and befriended us in the past, and helped to make the Reading Room the place it is today."

  • Treasurer's Report:

"Our closing balance was £26,202, an increase of £3524 on the previous year. However Town and Country Plumbing only sent us an invoice for £4190 after the end of the financial for the installation of the new cottage boiler. Which would have given a balance of £22,000.

The drop in receipts is due to the one off receipt last year of £2000 from the redemption Government stock generously donated to the Reading Room at some time in the past and the timing of banking the Café surplus.

The reduction in payments are a result of 50% of the Cottage kitchen improvements being included last year and the general repairs including the cost of the redecoration of the hall.

I think the only outstanding major expense is the £2600 + VAT to resolve the damp discussed at the December meeting."

  • Café Report:

"The cafe continues to be well supported and is now in its seventh year.

From a financial standpoint the cafe figures differ from those presented by Richard Foster as the RR uses the standard financial year.

The cafe having been established in a January reports its figures as a calendar year.
In the year Jan -Dec 2016 the cafe contributed £2,000 to the the Reading Rooms.
In the current calendar year, Jan to end May 2017 it has contributed £1,000 ,so hopefully it is shaping up to be another good year.

I would like to thank all the volunteers and cake makers who make the cafe such a great success. "

  • Correspondence:

The only correspondence was the confirmation of the TV License that is now in place.

  • Auditor:

We are happy with the current auditor. All were in favour to leave it as it is.

  • Insurance:

Paul Underwood asked what the Insurance covered as the lighting set up in the Reading Room is very expensive. It does cover contents which will cover this.

  • Cleaners Wages:

The cleaner's wages are currently £7 per hour and overtime is £10 per hour. Currently the Standard Living Wage is £7.50 per hour. Sue Lidgley proposed a raise to £8 per hour and £10 per hour overtime and Judy Cairns seconded. All were in favour.

Michelle Rimmer brought up about Holiday Pay. It was confirmed that the cleaner gets paid monthly, even if she has a week off, so holiday pay is paid.

There is a cleaners Duty List, so everyone knows what jobs the role covers. All the equipment is now up to date.

  • Letting Fees:

Morag Underwood asked about the electricity tokens as it doesn't get much towards the electricity bill. It was discussed that it was pointless having it as it does struggle and you can't get one that will cope with the high load. Bill England suggested the cooker meter ought to stay and did we need to increase the letting fees? Morag Underwood proposed an increase in the external group letting and keep village group rates as they are. Sue Lidgley seconded. Currently fees are Childs Party £30. Evening Party £100. Village groups £15. Government Elections £120.

Morag suggested Child Party up to £40 – Sue Lidgley seconded. Evening Party up to £125 Danny Moody seconded. Everyone was in favour.

It was suggested to ask Gilberts to quote to take the meters out.

  • General Housekeeping:

Morag Underwood asked about the large green bin and what happens with the rubbish collected from it. Does it get sorted for recycling as all sorts of rubbish gets put in there. We need to talk to the council about what we can do, if we can get blue bins and sort recycling out from general rubbish?

Angela Goodall has asked for an additional efficient kettle for Tuesday lunches? Bill England suggested to just get a new one.

  • Outside doors and fascia:

Bill England tried to get quotes, but no one was interested. We want to keep it as wood and not upvc. The doors need replacing and the security and locks need improving. The fascia at the back can be done in upvc as it is unseen.

The building is not listed, but needs to be kept in the same manner it is now.

  • Damp proofing:

Peter Cox have done a survey and quoted to sort out the damp problem in the committee room, in the corridor by the toilets and kitchen and under the hatch. The working committee have accepted the quote and said that the work is to be carried out in August when the Reading Room has the least bookings. Peter Cox will need to be contacted to arrange a date.

  • Change of method of access:

Morag Underwood is thinking of ways of access that doesn't reply on someone being available to meet for handover of keys before and after use of the Reading Room, so a key safe or something similar sounds ideal. Danny Moody suggested that if we are looking at replacing the front door and improving the lock that there is a way to link the two ideas with something like a digital lock. Bill England suggested that a small committee is formed to look into options for this and also to take into consideration from an Insurance Policy point of view.

  • Change of method of booking the Reading Room:

Morag Underwood suggested looking into a booking system on the internet to make it easier. Danny Moody suggested looking into other local venues that already use these methods and get an insight into what options are being used. Local groups are usually booked a year in advance so they can be block booked and show as not available to others. All agreed to look into this.

  • Committee Room improvements:

Bill England suggested that this is to be left until all of the damp proofing work has been completed and everyone agreed.

Bill England closed the meeting, again thanking everyone for their support, and also thanking the secretary for her help.

Meeting Start: 8pm
Meeting Finish: 9.00pm

Meeting To Elect Officers Held After The General Management Meeting On 25 May - posted 30 May 2017

Chairman - Bill England retired from his position.
Danny Moody proposed Morag Underwood and Angela Goodall seconded. All were in favour.

Vice Chairman - Cec Harrold said that he was standing down from his position.
Paul Underwood proposed Angela Goodall and Danny Moody seconded. All were in favour.

Treasurer - Richard Foster said that he was happy to stand for another twelve months.
Danny Moody proposed Richard Foster and Sue Lidgley seconded. All were in favour.

Steward - Doreen England retired from her position.
Sue Lidgley said that she would cover the position for 12 months
Danny Moody proposed Sue Lidgley and Angela Goodall seconded. All were in favour.

Retirement Of Bill And Doreen England - posted 26 May 2017

From Bill & Doreen England...

From Bill & Doreen England...

"We would like to thank all concerned for the lovely arrangement of flowers, and vouchers, presented to us after the Reading Room AGM. We would also wish the Reading Room all the best & success for the future. Thanks to all who have supported us in the past."

At the meeting Morag Underwood was elected as Chair, Angela Goodall as Vice Chair. Jo Kirtland remains as Secretary, Richard Foster as Treasurer, and Sue Lidgley has undertaken the role of Steward and will take bookings.

General Management Meeting to be held after the AGM on Thursday 25th May 2017 - posted 20 May 2017


  • The Election of Officers

1a Election of Chairman
1b Election of Vice Chairman
1c Election of Treasurer
1d Election of Steward

Only elected trustees are eligible to vote at this meeting
(1 organisation 1 vote only)

Agenda For AGM On 25 May 2017 posted 19 May 2017

The Annual General Meeting will take place on the above date at 8.p.m. All are welcome and refreshments will be served afterwards.

The AGM will be followed by a short meeting (of the General Management Committee only) for the election of officers.


  • Chairman's welcome
  • Apologies for absence
  • Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 30th June 2016
  • Matters arising from the minutes
  • Chairman's annual report
  • Treasurer's annual report
  • Café report
  • Correspondence
  • Auditor
  • Insurance
  • Cleaners wages
  • Letting fees - to what extent tokens meet the cost of the electricity bill
  • General Housekeeping - rubbish recycling, additional kettle
  • Outside doors & facia
  • Damp proofing – Electronic console got damp and stopped working.
  • Change of method of access to the Reading Room. Purchase and siting of a key safe
  • Change of method of booking the Reading Room. Internet booking system
  • Committee Room improvements required to improve the look of the room

Any item not on the agenda will not be resolved at this meeting, but will be an agenda item in the General Management Meeting held in November.

Draft Agenda For AGM - posted 23 April 2017

The Annual General Meeting will take place on 25 May in the Reading Room at 8oc. All are welcome and refreshments will be served afterwards.

The AGM will be followed by a short meeting (of the General Management Committee only) for the election of officers.


  • Chairman's welcome
  • Apologies for absence
  • Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 30th June 2016
  • Matters arising from the minutes
  • Chairman's annual report
  • Treasurer's annual report
  • Cafe report
  • Correspondence
  • Auditor
  • Insurance
  • Cleaner's wages
  • Letting fees
  • General Housekeeping
  • Outside doors & facia
  • Damp proofing

All additions to the agenda must be submitted to the secretary by Saturday 13th May. Any item not on the agenda will not be resolved at this meeting, but will be an agenda item in the General Management Meeting held in November.

Reading Room Steward Vacancy posted 24 March 2017

The present steward, Doreen England, has carried out this role in a very efficient way over many years, but she is vacating the position shortly.

The steward's duties are:

To take and log bookings, that includes regular bookings. To give keys, to users, and collect fees, as and when, and again log. Make up books on a 6 monthly basis, and present to the Treasurer.
Responsible for the replenishment of consumables, ie kitchen/cleaning/toiletries. Show new users, private parties, around the hall.

Are you the one to take up this challenging role ?

Minutes Of the General Management Meeting Held On 13th December 2016 - posted 05 January 2017

Bill England - Chairman
Cec Harrold – Vice Chairman
Richard Foster - Treasurer
Chris Thorpe – Village Cafe
Doreen England - Steward
Jo Kirtland – Secretary

Jennifer Saunders
Judy Cairns
Audrey Forgham
Sue Lidgley
Danny Moody

  • Apologies: Becky Leitelmayer, Morag Underwood, Angela Goodall, Alex Corrin.
  • Minutes of the General Management Meeting held on the 4th December 2015 were signed as an accurate record of the meeting.
  • Matters Arising:

Sue Lidgley asked about the rent increase for the cottage – it was confirmed that an increase had been made.

Richard Foster asked about the extraction unit – it was confirmed that a decision had been made that it was not needed.

Cleaning equipment – Judy Cairns will go through and list what needs replacing.

Door mat – Other matters need completing first, then the mat will get sorted.

Bill England pointed out that a TV Licence was now needed and Jo Kirtland will look into it.

  • Chairman's Annual Report:

"Another successful year for the Reading Room, with most slots being taken up by village functions, and a lot of children's parties and christenings, although Saturday evening functions have been a bit disappointing, maybe we are not selling the venue to the private punter, that probably needs to be on the agenda for future meetings.

The damp in the Committee Room cupboards has been addressed, the plaster has been stripped off for stage one, a firm quote from Peter Cox has been received, not only for the Committee Room, but also for other issues that have come to light, and will be discussed later on at this meeting, as will be other quotes for cottage maintenance.

General Housekeeping has again not been too bad, but could be improved, with a little more effort and diligence before vacating the premises.

I must now stress that this is my last term as your Chairman, and also Doreen has indicated that it will be her last year as a Steward. I am including this in this report to give you time to try to choose who you want to take over these positions. The chair is in actual fact the less stressful position, but I suggest you need a person who will do the best for the Reading Room and all of the folk that use it. Whereas the stewards job is a 24/7 commitment, and would suggest a person who has that commitment to take the position over. We will of course be on hand if needed to make the transition as smooth as possible. This is now in your hands.

I would like to thank you all for your support, and hope we can rely on it for the next six months or so."

  • Treasurer's Report:

Treasurer's Report December 2016

"At the AGM I reported that the end of year closing balance was £22,678 after spending £10,200 completing the improvements to the cottage over the previous two financial years and suggested that we were in a good position to progress with the redecoration of the Reading Room.

The redecoration has now been completed and paid for from income generated in the first half of this year with a small surplus of income over expenditure giving us a balance of £24,000. Following the redecoration the report from Peter Cox it appears to indicate that the rising damp problem is more extensive than we might have anticipated and we will need to consider our priorities when discussing the tenders for the three projects on the agenda. Fortunately the accounts are very healthy and if we continue to get the support of the Café and 200 Club we should be able to maintain and improve the property in the future."

  • General Housekeeping:

It is not bad, we still get complaints from others in after an event saying about the kitchen and toilets can be found a bit messy. It is reminded that groups leave it in a good clean condition.

Doreen England mentioned that teaspoons wander! Please can you make sure that cutlery and crockery gets put back from where you found it.

Doreen also asked that sellotape and blue tack should not be put up on the walls as it has pulled some of the paint off. Jo Kirtland will send out a letter to organisations reminding them to respect the room or they will be billed for the making good.

  • Bathroom & Shower in Cottage:

Cec Harrold has been to see Rupert in the cottage and there is more concern for a boiler replacement than a bathroom. The boiler is estimated 20 years old. Bill England agreed that a new boiler was priority. Sue Lidgely requested to get another quote for a boiler. Cec will contact RGB in Kings Sutton for this.

Bill England asked that when a second quote is received if the Working Committee had permission to make a decision to go ahead asap. Judy Cairns proposed and Jennifer Saunders seconded – all were in favour.

Jennifer asked about safety in cottage and about the smoke detectors etc. Bill said that a surveyor had been out and didn't advise any different to what is already there. The bathroom alterations will be left and discussed at the AGM.

  • Boiler in Cottage:

This was covered in Item 7.

  • Damp in Committee Room:

Peter Cox have been out and inspected and confirmed damp in the cupboard, in the passage way and under the hatch. They can do the whole job. Cupboards will need to be cleaned out. Richard Foster asked to check on what other preparation was needed. They have quoted £2600 + vat to do all the areas. It was decided that we needed to go ahead and get it done. Chris Thorpe proposed and Sue Lidgley seconded – all agreed.

  • Plasterwork in passageway and under hatch:

This has been covered in Item 9 as it is a damp problem. Peter Cox will be stripping plaster up to 1M high and using dry wall plaster. Sue Lidgley asked if it could be done up to the bottom of the hatch but as Bill pointed out it would be made good so you shouldn't see joints where the work has been done. When damp work is complete a protective strip and pvc panels will be installed when the plaster has completely dried and decorations carried out.

Sue Lidgely mentioned about the Ivy growing up the side of the Reading Room wall and it becoming a problem. Bill will talk to the Leitelmayers about this as it adjoins their land.

Meeting Start: 7.30pm
Meeting Finish: 8.20pm

General Management Meeting To Be Held On 13th December 2016 - posted 01 December 2016

To be held 7.30 pm in the Reading Room

Draft copy, additions to be submitted to Jo by Friday 9th December 2016
No additional agenda items will be considered after this date.


  • Apologies for absence
  • Minutes of the General Management Meeting held on 4th December 2014matters Arising.
  • Chairman's Report
  • Treasurer's Report
  • General Housekeeping
  • To consider tenders for new bathroom, & installation of shower room in cottage
  • To consider tender for new boiler for cottage.
  • Damp in committee room cupboards.
  • Plasterwork in passageway, & under hatch in extention.

Jo Kirtland


Minutes Of The Annual General Meeting Held On 30 June 2016 -posted 14/07/16

Bill England - Chairman
Cec Harrold – Vice Chairman
Richard Foster - Treasurer
Chris Thorpe – Village Cafe
Doreen England - Steward
Jo Kirtland – Secretary

Jennifer Saunders
Judy Cairns
Audrey Forgham
Barbara Buxton
Danny Moody
Alex Corrin
Christine Bridger
Angela Goodall

  • The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.
  • Apologies:
    Morag Underwood, Michele Rimmer, Becky Leitelmayer, Sue Lidgley
  • Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on the 25th June 2015 were signed as an accurate record of the meeting.
  • Matters arising from previous minutes:

Item 16 – Damp problem in Committee Room. This issue is still in the process of being sorted, it has been advised that work will start in August 2016.

  • Chairman's Annual Report:

"This year has once again been very successful, with the Reading Room being well used, with village and private functions, especially Christening's and Children's parties. There has even been sleep