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18th March 2024

New treasurer says Village Hall is on the right track

The new treasurer of the Englefield Village Hall charity says National Village Hall Week (March 18-24) is the perfect occasion to celebrate these beacons of community life.

Olivia Macey is Head of Finance at Trainline - the online App used by millions to book train tickets and monitor arrivals and departures - and is married with a one-year-old daughter.  But in her spare time she is happy to give something back to the community, looking after the day-to-day cash management of Englefield Village Hall.                                     

Olivia supports Lynn Dennison, hall co-ordinator, in managing bookings and payments, as well as budgeting and reporting.  She attends regular formal meetings with the Village Hall trustees and stays in touch via email to discuss issues that arise.

She is enthusiastic about the role village halls play in communities like Englefield, providing a focus for community events and a meeting place for all kinds of groups and organisations.  And she brings her business skills to the voluntary role as treasurer.

Englefield Village Hall, which can accommodate up to 80 people, underwent a full refurbishment in 2020-2021, creating a new kitchen, large light and airy main hall and new toilets.  Air source heat pumps were installed to provide underfloor heating in an environmentally friendly way and there is a superfast broadband connection.

Olivia said of her role as treasurer: “I’ve been on the lookout for some time to give something back to the community using my skillset. I’m also a massive fan of the Englefield Estate and spent many an afternoon walking around the estate during my maternity leave, so when I saw this opportunity pop up on my social media feed it sounded ideal!”

Regular bookings are a feature of the day-to-day running of Englefield Village Hall – helping to promote community spirit.  “We’ve been very lucky that word has spread quite organically about the offering at Englefield Village Hall in the relatively short time it has been open,” Olivia said.

“We encourage regular repeat bookings which promote community spirit. We currently have regular bookings for a huge variety of interests, including a local bridge club, children’s messy play, garden club, meditation class, kids’ yoga, baby massage and an adult’s arts and crafts class.

“A local “Dinner and Bingo” charity night is also being organised and offered by the local community, which we are all looking forward to.”

Olivia, who grew up in rural Suffolk, said villages could benefit from marketing their Village Hall’s availability through a website - as Englefield does – and put the focus on fostering a community spirit. “We put a specific focus on bookings that bring people together and benefit the community and consider this the Village Hall’s core mission,” she said.

“The Village Hall provides a base for a huge variety of community groups catering for all sorts of interests and encourages people from farther afield to visit this stunning place and the independent businesses it supports.”

Olivia described Englefield as a unique community set in beautiful Berkshire surroundings. She said the Village Hall provided a base for local people to gather and also helped draw in others from further afield to visit the village and take part in events.

One of the organisations that regularly uses the Englefield Village Hall is the Five a Day not-for-profit therapy gardening and horticultural therapy garden charity. 

Ali Luke, the charity’s service development manager, said: “Five a Day Garden has been able to use the excellent facilities of Englefield Village Hall. During the colder months it has been the perfect location to allow our elderly clients of the weekly ‘Thyme Together Group’, to continue to meet indoors, where the welcoming ambience of the Hall has enabled all kinds of winter craft and other interesting activities to take place.

“The Hall is also frequently used for Five a Day Garden trustee and planning meetings. We really appreciate the location, size and facilities it offers!”