All too easily taken for granted, our county’s village halls are at the heart of rural life and are a lifeline for local communities. And, Gullane’s village hall is no different – it is a resource to be treasured.
For over 60 years, the village hall has been at the heart of life in Gullane, providing a focal point for all kinds of activities which help bring the community together.
There are classes and clubs for all ages, from zumba to kids’ drama workshops, from table tennis to Scouts. There are fundraising events, birthday parties, family celebrations, public meetings, band nights, afternoon teas, the Gullane Community Ceilidh Band’s weekly rehearsals and much more. In fact, in 2018 an estimated 14,000 people took part in over 550 events in the hall.
As such a vibrant, well-maintained venue, people are often surprised to find the village hall is entirely self-financing. It is run by a committee of trustees who volunteer their time to make sure the hall continues to thrive and be a valuable resource for villagers. A major focus is to ensure the hall develops and adapts to the changing needs of everyone who benefits from using it. Over the past five years, this has involved considerable upgrading. The entrance hall, kitchen and toilets have all been refurbished, including the installation of a mobile hoist and changing table to improve disabled access. The main hall has been painted, the stage curtains have been replaced, and the lighting and audio visual system upgraded. A new renewable energy system has been installed, halving heating costs and significantly reducing the hall’s carbon footprint.
Funding these changes often calls for as much creativity and effort as running the hall itself! Hire charges are kept intentionally low – they cover only the hall’s day-to-day running costs – to ensure the venue is affordable. Applications to charitable trusts and other grant-making bodies have helped considerably. But it’s the support and generosity of local people which continues to be a major driving force. A programme of fundraising events including; the Gullane pantomime, the village’s Burns supper, the annual apple festival, the Hogmanay Ceilidh and the monthly community cinema, Little Big Screen all contribute significantly. Plus there’s a Friends of the Village Hall scheme where locals sign up to donate £10 or £20 a year – providing an invaluable income stream.
Next in the committee’s sights is the refurbishment of the small hall, which provides a great meeting space for local groups. There’s still a considerable sum to be raised to meet this target and the other enhancements the committee would like to make. But with the weight of the community behind it, the hall looks set to be at the heart of the village for many years to come.
to find out more and see how you can help, visit www.gullanevillagehall.org.uk