Raglan community facilities at risk

Our Trustees are appealing for volunteers and warning that without more people stepping forward to help it could spell the end of the village’s community facilities.

The concern comes as a lack of volunteers puts the running of Raglan’s existing village hall in doubt, and also follows a setback in the project to build a new Community Hub.

A small number of volunteers have been running Raglan village hall, known as Raglan Old Church School, in partnership with Monmouthshire County Council since 2014, but the arrangement now hangs in the balance.

Services, groups and classes from yoga to Brownies rely on this voluntary support to use the Old Church School Hall. Without more valuable help from local people on the ground, the facility is unviable from a Monmouthshire County Council perspective and will ultimately close.

Our outgoing team of RVHA volunteers stepped down at a recent AGM after four years, and our Trustees are calling for a new committee of local people to take the management of Raglan’s community facilities forward, including running the current village hall and coordinating a joint project for a new Community Hub with Monmouthshire County Council.

Speaking on behalf of the volunteers, former chair and trustee Chris Butler-Donnelly, said:

“We are very concerned that without new volunteers to run our existing village hall and secure funding for Raglan’s new build project, community facilities in Raglan are very much at risk.

“Monmouthshire is considered a relatively prosperous area, but rural villages like ours can seriously struggle when it comes to quality facilities that benefit everyone. Our current village hall lacks even the basics like proper toilets, which is an obvious disadvantage when it comes to events and services. We think Raglan deserves better.

“We’ve worked and campaigned successfully over recent years for improvements and long-term solutions, but we now need fresh faces to take Raglan’s community facilities forward and potentially to look at alternatives.

“I’d like to thank outgoing volunteers for their tremendous efforts in running and improving Raglan Old School over the years, and for tirelessly working towards a new community facility. Also thank you to everyone who continues to support the charity.”

A new team is needed to take a fresh look at alternate funding sources or different ways of delivering community facilities in the area, following a setback in the project to build a Community Hub.

Despite coordinating the Community Hub project since 2014, successfully securing Big Lottery Funding for the design and planning process, and achieving planning permission in 2017, our second Big Lottery bid needed to build the Community Hub facility lost out to other initiatives.

If a new committee can be found there may still be hope for the project. Monmouthshire County Council confirmed that the option to build a Community Hub on the village’s old junior school site would continue in place until July 2019. The Council is willing to support a new RVHA committee in exploring the available options, but time is running out.

If funding isn’t secured by July 2019 the proposed allocation of the old junior school site will not be transferred from Monmouthshire County Council to the community, leaving the village without the option to build on the central site.

Chris said: “Monmouthshire County Council have been very supportive of the RVHA over the past years, and have offered their continued support to the RVHA providing a committee can be formed, and the committee takes over the day to day running of the existing facility.

“We really hope that people will take the opportunity to come forward to help. It would be big blow to the village if we not only lost the opportunity to build a brand new community space, but also the hall that we rely on at the moment. When we talk about facilities and services it’s really about the things that are important to all of us, like socialising, celebrating, fundraising or getting support.

“A larger group of volunteers contributing a small amount of time each could make a big difference to our community. It’s not without challenges, but it’s also very rewarding and a lot of fun. Raglan is a special place to live, and one that deserves thriving community facilities for many years to come.”

Our Trustees  are holding an extraordinary meeting on the 10th July at 19:00 in Raglan Old Church School to try and form a new committee. If you can support your local facilities or need further information, please email info@raglanvillagehall.org.uk. Roles include Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.