Volunteers secure future of village hub

THERE was a huge sigh of relief this week when it was announced that Monikie War Memorial Hall has avoided closure.

It was reported recently in the Guide & Gazette that a lack of new recruits to the board of trustees which runs the hall meant that in light of forthcoming retirals the hall could be left without a functioning governing body.

This situation might have resulted in the end for the hall which serves Monikie and Newbigging as a community hub.

On Monday night users of the hall and concerned villagers were invited to a meeting at which the composition of a future committee was discussed.

General manager for the hall, Charlie Pilditch, explained the outcome. He said: “We had an about turn with this business, and it’s good news!

“We’ve managed to get some new blood and there will be a full complement of trustees at the first meeting after the annual general meeting.”

Around 14 people came to the meeting. Mr Pilditch added: “We had a good turnout of local people at the meeting and they expressed their willingness to serve as trustees.”

He said the future is looking far rosier for the hall than it did just a few short weeks ago.

Mr Pilditch went on: “Knowing the people involved, I’m quite sure they are genuine and they are willing to take the hall into the next few years. I think we’ll actually get more because unfortunately two people couldn’t make it but had expressed their interest in being trustees.

“There will be a full complement of 12 trustees by the end of October. I’m quite confident of that.”

The trustees will shortly take a break for the summer and will resume their meetings in the autumn at which time the hand-over of power will take place.

Mr Pilditch continued: “The next meeting is September 17 at which stage we’ll be reiterating what we discussed last night. We will basically be handing over after the meeting. Then it will be up to them regarding the total governance of the hall.”

Anne Smith, one of the incumbent trustees, reiterated that publicising their predicament may have provided them with a solution, but pointed out there was still much to do.

She said: “Thanks to the media exposure several people have stepped forward to help as trustees which is very pleasing.

“We are still hoping that we can persuade someone to take on the job of manager which entails keeping an eye on the maintenance of the hall, taking bookings for the hall and generally reporting to the trustees in return for a small remuneration.

“We have someone who has stepped in to keep the hall clean - so thank you to those members of the community who will keep this valuable asset open and running.”

Angus Provost and Carnoustie and District councillor Helen Oswald was glad new trustees had been found. She said: “That’s excellent. This is a really well used hall and community groups are very well served by it. I think it’s great because it’s always hard to get people to take these positions.

“These people have already served for 10 years and they have been doing a great job. I’m delighted they’ve got new trustees and things will continue to go on.

“It’s the War Memorial for the area and it’s really great that it’s being kept alive, so to speak.”

The Provost added that Monikie and Newbigging had other issues to face, namely the restitution of the defunct community council. Angus Council had been obliged to start the process after 20 electors had expressed an interest in seeing it reinstated. However, there had been insufficient interest by the closing date on Wednesday, forcing the council to extend the deadline for nominations until Wednesday, June 20.

The Provost said: “I would be asking people who are interested in their area to get involved.

“And reminding them that the community council is the statutory consultee for the planning process, that alone makes it worthwhile.”