MUTHILL residents turned out in force on Monday night to save their village hall.
The hall committee, which has run the Perth and Kinross Council-owned hall for the past few decades, saw three members recently step down. And they warned locals that unless they could meet the six person minimum for the committee at their AGM, the hall would close.
However, committee chairman Sandy Black told the Herald they more than achieved that number.
He said: “If it had been like previous years, we would have put posters up and very few people would have come along. That really would have meant the committee would have folded and the hall closed.
“However, over 100 people came to the meeting, and not only did we get the three replacement members we needed to get our minimum numbers for a committee, we got six additional members, taking us to our full 12 person committee.”
Some of those in attendance also put their names forward for a steering group, with the specific task of spearheading moves to renovate the hall.
Sandy explained: “Back in 2009, we were told that the hall needed £75,000 worth of work just to reinstate it as it is.
“We also consulted with user groups of the hall and all of them said they would like to see a number of improvements made.
“Out of this came the Community Futures group, which earlier this year produced an action plan for the village. Highlighted as the number one priority was improving the village hall.”
The action plan was drafted after extensive consultation with the community. Every household received a survey and local groups, businesses and politicians were asked for their views.
“We needed evidence to go and get an options appraisal, which is the stage we are at just now. However, we need to get funding in place to pay for the appraisal, and that will be part of the work of the steering group.”
Sandy admitted that the “ultimate goal” of the committee is to see the hall go through a complete transformation. The chairman cited the recent upgrade to the Aytoun Hall as an example of the changes he hoped to see take place in Muthill Village Hall.
“The turnout at the meeting shows that people are very much behind the hall and it is a beloved old building. We would like to see it continue to facilitate the many groups and organisations who use it.”
Currently, the hall is used by Muthill Primary School for PE lessons, the local WRI, Brownies, Rainbows and Scouts, the local dog club, badminton club and as the main venue for any fundraising or social events in the village.
Councillor Murray Lyle, who attended the AGM on Monday, said: “I was delighted to see the response from people in the village and that they achieved a new committee of 12 people.
“It is a good news story for the people of Muthill and I hope to go along to the first committee meeting on Monday.”
Also decided at the AGM was a change to the booking tariff. Instead of having a flat rate that covered renting the hall for five hours, people and groups will now have an hourly rate, which Sandy believes will encourage more people to make use of the hall.
He added: “We have also instigated an off-peak rate, which we hope will bring smaller groups such as mother and toddler groups into the hall during the day.”
The first meeting of the new committee is this Monday (September 5) in the hall, starting at 7.30pm.
Members of the public are welcome to attend, and Sandy is keen for anyone interested in joining the steering group, or an events group to help fundraise, to come along. Although members of the committee have to be at least 18 years old, there are no age restrictions for the sub groups.