With great regret, the management committee of Pant Memorial Institute have taken the difficult decision to close the hall to all hirers, effective from Monday March 23rd. This follows the government instruction to close all pubs, restaurants, leisure centres, gyms, schools, childminders and nurseries. While venues such as ours are not mentioned directly, the hall is a social centre and it is contradictory to essential social distancing measures to offer it for use. (update; government announcement late on March 23rd included community buildings so that would have closed us anyway)
This is believed to be the first closure (apart from for refurbishment) in the 98 year history of the hall. We are very conscious of the impact on our hirers, especially the many small businesses that use the hall, but sadly we feel that we have no alternative. Most of our hirers have already cancelled their bookings in advance of this.
Information for hirers
All bookings are considered ‘suspended’ for now, and there will be no future obligation to take them up when we reopen. (naturally we hope that hirers will do so) There will be no further charges to hirers after payment for sessions already used, via invoice which will be issued shortly. Any advance payments will of course be refunded in full. We are unable to take new bookings for the hall until we reopen.
There is to be no access to the building for anyone except designated committee members and volunteers. Please do not enter the hall unless you are in one of these groups.
Maintaining the hall during closure
The hall is in the charge of the charity ‘Pant Memorial Institute’ as well as a valued community asset. For both insurance and good practice, the committee will carry out regular checks on the building while it is out of use, and will keep a record of these. The fire safety systems will be checked as now (so don’t worry if you hear the alarm briefly, probably on a Monday). Cleaning and gardening contracts are continuing to keep the hall in good order.
The hall has been well-used over the last few years. Prudent financial management means that the charity has reserves. These will allow us to pay the ongoing costs during the closure despite total cessation of income.
Our reserves obviously will not last forever, but at present we have enough to continue for at least two years. We sincerely hope that we will be able to reopen long before then.
We are putting all other non-essential expenditure on hold, with the exception of items already in progress where we will of course honour our committments.
A lottery grant application was submitted in early March. We will also continue applying to other grant sources as they become available. These grants cannot be used for running costs, but if successful will allow us to continue the improvement programme for the hall.
What can I do to help?
Please keep following our facebook feed for news. While we are not directly soliciting donations, there are still ways to support us. You can shop online with GiveasYoulive, sell items for our charity on ebay, buy our postcards and support our grant applications – information will follow. We are keeping an eye on the building, but if you spot any problems please don’t hesitate to contact us, either by phone to 07913 565708 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will of course remain contactable for any queries.
The hall has been a valued community asset since 1922, and we hope that it will not be too long before we can reopen it. Thank you for your support – past, present and future. We wish everyone good health and peace during this difficult time.
The committee of Pant Memorial Institute