In 2014, a sub-committee of the trustees of Scothern Village Hall was created, called Spirit of Scothern. The purpose of the group was twofold – to enrich the community spirit and keep Scothern alive socially, as well as organise the refurbishment of the village hall.
Steve Taylor, Chairman of Spirit of Scothern, explains what the group have been doing over the last 8 years. “We have been fundraising for the refurbishment through various social events in the region of 18 social events a year. We have a monthly Flix in the Stix from September to May, fashion shows, cheese and wine parties, as well as festive teas and other events. Although we are only 6 miles from Lincoln, there is no public transport from Scothern so unless you have a car, people might not be able to get out for any entertainment so that is why we get good support for the bulk of events we organise.”
Around 900 people live in the village of Scothern, and yet a small group of around 12 people are dedicating their time to keep the community spirit alive for all. “It’s quite fashionable to live in a village,” Steve explains, “and of course Scothern like all the other villages north of Lincoln have been subject to quite a lot of development recently, but there is no point living in a village if you don’t actually contribute to the community nor get anything out of it. You might live in the village, but unless you participate you are missing out on a great deal.”
The team of volunteers each use their strengths to offer a variety of events for the community to enjoy. “We have somebody who organises an annual 1940s night, somebody who organises a regular fashion show, I organise the film nights… and then we have ad hoc groups who come together for larger events such as the Jubilee. That was a group of around 6 people, and they started their work 9 months ago.” says Steve. Events take a lot of planning and there is often red tape to get through, so the group have to look forward and already have events booked for 2023.
Alongside the events side of things, they also have a group who are focused on the plans of the refurbished hall. These have recently been approved internally and are about to go for planning permission, but due to the current climate, construction costs have increased substantially since the plans started, and fundraising is now very much at the forefront of the group’s mission.
Why has this group volunteered tirelessly for over 8 years to fundraise for a village hall you might ask? Steve explains that it is so much more than a building, it is the heart of the community. “It isn’t ‘just a village hall’, it is also the village sports pavilion, it’s also the village scout hut, the village theatre, the village cinema and so much more.”
To date the group have raised around £68,000 through tireless dedication over several years, so although they are well on their way, with the current plans looking to cost up to £2 million, grant applications and serious fundraising are the next goal. Whilst the price might sound steep, Steve points out that it is only the equivalent of 4 or 5 houses for sale within the village, and when you consider this will be a place to benefit around 900 people, it suddenly feels more than worth it.
Although they have a catalogue of regular events they hold across the village, the team are now asking for your ideas. Keen to involve younger people, they are also asking for younger generations to come forward and let them know what sort of activities and events they would like to see in the village. “It’s no good a load of old fogies deciding what young folk want!” Steve chuckles, “We need young people to tell us what they want and then we can help make it happen.”
It cannot be taken for granted that this small group of people are continuing to pump life into the village and provide social occasions and fundraise tirelessly to ensure the village hall is there for generations to come. “There is no point having a super-duper village hall if we don’t have the community using it,” says Steve, “So we are trying to build everything up at the same time, the hall and the community, but obviously we are all doing this voluntarily, and there is a limit to how much people can do to keep it moving forward really.”
Once volunteer work is spread out across more people, the less strenuous it becomes. If several more people gave an hour a week to Spirit of Scothern, more could be achieved, the current individuals would become less burnt out and the future of the community would be bright. Each person has a different skill, talent and interest and these can be utilised through the events and fundraising.
Knowing an online presence is something the team needed to work on, thanks to the help of new village residents, they are having a revamp of their website, ticketing system and social media accounts, which should be up and running in early autumn. In the meantime, if you would like to find out more, volunteer or offer fundraising ideas, please call Steve on 01673 861412 or email email@example.com