We are proud to announce the first in what will be a series of newsletters and information sharing regarding the long term future of our Guildhall.
Although we are the FrOG’s (Friends of Plympton St Maurice Guildhall), in the past year we have probably resembled a duck more than anything; not an awful lot appears to be happening on the surface, whilst below the waterline there is plenty of activity. This has understandably led to questions about what we have been up to and this newsletter in part is intended to answer some of those questions.
Possibly one of the most difficult tasks was to decide what strategy to adopt particularly bearing in mind that tangled web surrounding the ownership of the Guildhall. This has taken a huge amount of time and effort, but we have been successful in determining that the Guildhall is in fact, held in Trust, with Plymouth City Council being the sole trustee at this time. Since this discovery of this, the building has been removed from the community asset transfer list as it is not owned by the Council. However as we have now dealt with that, Plymouth City Council have agreed, in principle, to grant a 25 year lease to the FrOG’s. This is one option that is being considered along with a more collaborative approach working alongside the Council. In order to be signatories to a lease FrOG’s had to be formally incorporated which she now is as a Community Interest Company (CIC) registered with Companies House.
The next step was to register the CIC as a charity and charitable status was granted at the end of September, having first been applied for back in February. By pure coincidence the garage at the side of the Guildhall came on the market. It had been in private hands since the 1970s. With help from village members and the Civic Association we were able to buy the garage back. Since the purchase, monies that have been raised over the last 2 years for FrOGS has been used to pay back some of the loans.
Throughout this time we have been in discussions with the Architectural Heritage Fund and a local social enterprise group who have been providing useful guidance. We are now in a position where we can concentrate our efforts on fund raising but considering the various options which are complicated.
A special thank you is due to the Civic Association for the financial support they have provided and even more so to those individuals who have loaned/donated funds. Without your support FrOG’s would never have got off the ground and the purchase of the garage has meant that our plans for the future have a much greater chance of success.
Plympton St Maurice Pop Up Picture House
It seems no time at all since the Plympton St Maurice Pop Up Picture House started in June 2015 with "The Imitation Game". In the last 18 months or so, and with the hard work of volunteers, our supporters Envy Hair Salon and Portlebay Popcorn, and the many people who have come along and supported the monthly Film Nights, we have come a long way. So far, the Plympton St Maurice Pop Up Picture House has raised over £2,000. Thank you so very much for coming along and we hope that you have enjoyed the variety of films shown.
Through supporting the British film-making talent with the numerous independent films that we have screened, the people of Plympton St Maurice and wider Plympton community have been instrumental in the successful British Film Institute grant application in the summer which has led to us being given our own high-definition projector, screen and speakers.
In addition to our publicised December 2016 film, which is on Friday 2 December 2016, we are again putting on an extra Christmas-themed film, Polar Express. The film, which is loved by children and adults alike, will be shown at Plympton St Maurice Guildhall on Friday 16th December 2016 (doors open at 6.00pm for a 6.30pm start). There will be hot chocolate and snacks available for children and adults.
The 2017 film schedule will be published soon so please look out for our posters and on social media for what will be on offer. We are also keen if you have ideas about what films that you would like to see in the months to come. Thank you again for supporting the Pop Up Picture House.
Finally, we would like this opportunity to pay special thanks to our neighbours, Jonney Steven and Andrew Pawson. Jonney and Andrew have helped us from the very start and they have chosen some great films for the community to come and see and given up their time to set up and run the film equipment. A big thank you to the two of you from FrOG’s.
Other recent events
There have been a series of events throughout 2016 including an Irish night, The Autumn Ball, a quiz night and the highlight of the year for the younger generation, The Children’s May Ball. All events have been well attended and supported. A new programme of is being organised for 2017 and will be publicised soon. If there is anyone who has any ideas for an event and is willing to organise it please let us know. There is also the need for willing volunteers to assist in the logistics of these events.
Hillary Bracegirdle and Keith Booker have volunteered to lead on the application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant to help refurbish the Guildhall, involve more people in understanding its historical importance and make it more sustainable as an on-going asset for the community. This is a big and complex piece of work which will involve a lot of public consultation and partnership working. It will also involve FrOG’s in raising match funding. Anyone who has any skills to offer or would like to get involved please contact us
FrOG’s Annual General Meeting
The Civic Association AGM will be held at the Guildhall on Thursday 19th January 2017 commencing at 19:30. The first FrOG AGM will follow immediately after this meeting. All are welcome to attend.
We have requested permission from the Council to make some immediate improvements to the Guildhall. Our priorities are replacing the kitchen area so that it is fit for purpose, redecoration of the toilet areas, cleaning of the curtains in the main hall and other general maintenance to make the environment a more inviting place to visit. It is expected that these works will be carried out by willing volunteers along with potential sponsorship from local businesses so that there is no cost to FrOG’s or the Council.
We require support in all our activities and also from an administrative / committee point of view. Please come forward and offer your time and skills whatever they are. Without this commitment from the local community, this project is unlikely to succeed.
List of Officers
Chairman: Tim Quinn - Tel: 07854 159934
Secretary: Peter Beanland - Tel: 07977 468731
Treasurer: Andy Cooper
Fund raising & strategy: Keith Brooker, Hillary Bracegirdle & Kevin Collis
Corporate & historical: Phil Clowes: - Tel: 07719 432907