Volunteers needed to save community hub

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THE COMMUNITY hall at the centre of life in Monikie and the surrounding area could be under threat of closure.

The Monikie War Memorial Hall board of trustees is desperately seeking to fill important positions to keep the centre running into 2013.

An important extraordinary general meeting has been called for May 7 to discuss the future of the facility after it transpired that half of the current trustees, including the manager and the cleaner, would be retiring in November.

Charlie Pilditch, the current manager explained: “With only five or six trustees it’s hardly even a quorum. Obviously if we don’t get people interested to replace them there will be a question mark of whether it has a future.”

This is not the first time the hall has been threatened with closure. Charlie explained: “The whole thing took off 12 years ago when the new board of trustees was elected. At that time the hall was almost closing it was so run down.”

Around £50,000 of funding was secured. This was used to refurbish the kitchen and toilet facilities, the first of a long line of projects.

Charlie continued: “From that it was a springboard for further improvements and so the interest grew. It went hand in hand with our activities over the last three years, mostly to do with the renewable energy project, where we brought in a 50KW biomass boiler which cost in the region of £50,000 and the roof was relined and draft exclusion measures were taken. We’ve spent about £80,000 to £90,000 in the last three or four years. The hall is getting to the stage where there are no blank spaces so to speak. Every day there’s something going on, which is exactly what we wanted to achieve.”

With most of the major projects taken care of, with the exception of the installation of energy efficient lighting, the new trustees would face less of a struggle. Charlie added: “There’s an awful lot has happened. The new trustees’ job wouldn’t be as onerous as they might imagine.

“There’s always a need for fund-raising to keep our heads above water, but the financial situation just now is very healthy.”

“A community minded person has to be at the top of the list. Also as far as the hall manager is concerned there is a small remuneration for expenses and so on. Work as far as the manager is concerned is what he or she makes it.”

Anne Smith, one of the trustees, added: “It is well used, but obviously it takes people to organise it and also to maintain it. That’s a full time job pretty much.

“People work very hard for quite a long time and then get to a point where they say ‘right, I’ve done my bit’.

“It’s reached a certain level that we need another manager to come in and keep it going.”

Carnoustie councillor Helen Oswald said she also remembered the events a decade ago and how the community rallied to the flag.

She said: “I recall a similar thing happening around 10 years ago and how individuals in the communities of the Monikie and Newbigging areas stepped up to the plate then.

“I am confident that these same communities will once again produce individuals who are willing to help maintain this important community hub for the benefit of the whole area and even beyond and offer them my unstinting support”

Anyone concerned with the future of the Monikie War Memorial Hall and the board of trustees should attend the extraordinary general meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 7, in the hall.