Village Hall Reopening July 2004

For the Occasion of the Opening Mr Green, the chairman of the Village Hall Committe gave the following speech;

Firstly I would like to extend a warm welcome to Ecton to the Worshipful the Mayor and Madam Mayoress of Wellingborough, to Councillor Les Patterson andMrs Anne Toms of Northamptonshire County Council, Pam Wilton of Northamptonshire Acre, Andrew Blaber of The Ford Foundation and all of you here this evening to witness the official reopening of Ecton Village Hall.

 Our village hall started life as a Youth Club; built in the 70's for the village, by the village, providing a much needed facility at that time.

Over the years, time took it's toll; new legislation came into our lives -Health & Safety, Disabled Access etc - forcing us to upgrade and refurbish the Hall.

This was six years ago and at that point little did we know just how much hard work would be involved and just how long it would take to accomplish this.

The first three years were spent on applications to the Lottery, now known as the Community Fund; the final sting in the tail was being recommended for funding, only to be told the money had run out!!  THREE WASTED YEARS!!!

After this kick in the teeth, we refused to give in - doing nothing was never an option - so we decided to fund the scheme with applications for smaller grants, obviously entailing a lot more work.  This process involved 30 grant applications being completed, resulting in 11 successes.

Having scaled the original project down from £180,000, the final figure was still £130,000.  There were times when I am sure people in the village couldn't see when the Hall would be started, never mind finished, or even what it would look like.  You were not alone - even the committee had their doubts as to when this project would come to fruition.

I think even the most pessimistic amongst us would now see we have a village hall to be proud of.

I now come to "thank you" time.  As I said, the final cost was £130,000 - a daunting figure for a small village like Ecton to raise.  This was achieved with considerable contributions from Wellingborough Borough Council, Northamptonshire County Council and SITA (the landfill credit scheme); special thanks to these three organizations who contributed two-thirds of the overall cost.The remainder was raised with help from various sources - from £100 to £5000- all of whom are listed on the plaque in the lobby.  However, the people not listed personally here are those who "volunteered" to join the interest-free loan scheme, raising £10,000.  Again, a big thank you to you all.

The difficulty with naming individuals is not who you mention but the danger of leaving someone off the list - so I will not even attempt to mention everyone. 

However, I cannot let this occasion go by without thanking Northamptonshire Acre for their invaluable help and advice from day one, thank you, Pam.

As Chairman I know I could not have done my job without the unstinting work of our Secretary, Mary Dicks - who is now an expert in filling in grant application forms!!

A huge thank you to Rodney Ingram , our project manager, who has virtually lived down here for the last six months - you can have him back now, Sheila. Finally, thank you to everyone who has helped us to achieve our goal - those of you who have supported fundraising events, bought raffle tickets or helped in any other capacity.

We have a Village Hall to be proud of - so please use it!!