Hothfield Parish Council
...in the rustic heart of Kent
ANNUAL REPORTS FROM VILLAGE ORGANISATIONS FOR
MONDAY 30 APRIL 2012
The process of producing a monthly news sheet is complex. First, the news itself has to be gathered; mostly by email, some on a regular basis and some not; by email, delivered by hand or on the telephone. This has to be edited for length, accuracy, spelling and punctuation, and placed on the pages without leaving awkward gaps. Photographs have to be found or taken, and drawings made where necessary. That done, and the publication checked, 400 copies of four sides of paper have to be printed, which takes the best part of a day; then, the two sheets must be put together, stapled and folded – all of which is done by hand. The completed papers are sorted into twenty envelopes and delivered over an area stretching from Godinton House to Charing Surgery. Then our helpers deliver them – between 7 and 50 each – to every house in the Parish. Finally, the publication is sent by email to another 30 people and the Hothfield website.
Done commercially, this would produce a cover price of about 45p a copy, or £900 a month. Thanks to volunteer labour, however, Hothfield News costs the Parish Council about the same amount per year. It also offers free advertising to all businesses situated in, or working for, the Parish. We hope it provides a valuable service, and offer our grateful thanks to our distributors, without whom the whole thing would be pointless.
And, incidentally, we still need somebody to deliver to Beech Drive once a month.
KCC Community Warden
Well, yet another year passes us by and it’s time to update all residents of Hothfield as regards what has happened from a Community Warden’s point of view over the last twelve months.
We as a village are very much in a time of change. These changes, some of which will start soon, were referred to in April’s Hothfield Newsletter regarding improvements to the Common area i.e. Toilets, car park areas and the general additional landscaping that will be required. We also have the proposed road crossing that is to be put in on School Road outside No 20. This will help with reducing the speeding of vehicles that sometimes takes place on School Road as drivers pass through our village.
Some of the issues that cause concern to residents are: Bonfires in gardens: please be a good neighbour by lighting these after dusk. The reason is to avoid the likelihood of smoke causing distress to neighbours who may have washing out during the day, or could still have house windows open.
The issue of loose dogs roaming the streets is causing us all a health hazard with the dog poo that they leave on our pavements and walkways. This is a particular problem on the day when our refuse sacks are out ready for collection midweek. The loose dogs are tearing open the refuse bags, thereby causing the contents to spread everywhere. I would remind the few individuals who when out walking their dogs allow them to mess on the pavements, that it is your responsibility to “clean/pickup” after your dog. It is an offence not to clean up and you could be given a fine if you are seen by the dog warden. This will undoubtedly improve the quality of life for us all when walking around the village. Dog poo bags are available on request.
Quad bikes are fun if they are ridden with safety in mind, are well maintained and “road legal” if being driven on the highway. Younger children should not be carried on them without their wearing the necessary safety equipment. I would ask that adults think about the possible consequences of allowing youngsters to ride at speed on both the village roads and the common areas. We need to avoid any nasty accidents occurring.
The Parish Council, Hothfield Village Hall Committee, the Staff at Bluebells Centre and many willing volunteers have arranged a number of Village Events which are planned to take place over the coming months. Could I ask that we all support these events by buying entry tickets, donating raffle prizes and by attending whenever it’s possible? These events are arranged for us all to enjoy and they help support the village by raising much-needed funds.
May I take this opportunity to thank all the residents of the Village for their continued support and encouragement during 2011/12. I look forward to continuing the partnership with you all in the forthcoming twelve months.
PARISH CHURCH OF SAINT MARGARET, HOTHFIELD
We have enjoyed another good year in the life of the Church in Hothfield. In addition to our participation in the Christian mission of the G7 group of churches, now officially united under the tile of the Benefice of G7, our church life here in this village has been full and productive.
Our usual Sunday attendance is around 20, the congregation on a given Sunday being drawn from a larger group of church attenders. There are 38 members on the Electoral Roll. In the past year there have been three baptisms, two weddings and three funerals.
The past year has been rendered especially challenging by the departure of Rev. Lindsay Hammond at the end of May. We are fortunate that the process of replacement has taken less than a year, and Rev. Sheila Cox was installed at Rector of the G7 Benefice on 12 March this year. The interregnum was rendered largely problem-free by the sterling efforts of Rev. Susan Starkings, who was ordained Deacon during the year and licensed to G7 as Curate, and by the twice-monthly services of Rev. Canon Caroline Pinchbeck. To both of these, and to Rev. Richard Webb and others who have conducted services for us, we owe a deep debt of gratitude.
Messy Church continues to run in Bluebells Children's Centre. Run by Rev. Sue Starkings and a number of volunteers on the fourth Sunday after-noon of the month, Messy Church extends the church further into the village community, and serves not only Hothfield but the whole of G7. The redesigned history of the church is due for publication shortly. The Pastoral Group arranged the monthly coffee morning throughout the year, providing delicious cakes and good company.
A plan has been drawn up for the replacement of the lighting fittings in the church, has just got through the lengthy process of obtaining diocesan permission.
During 2011, The Friends of St. Margaret raised funds with a Cake Sale at the Village Fête; a Strawberry tea and Concert by the Marsh Warblers; and the Harvest Supper.
Following the recommendations in the Diocesan architect's Quinquennial Report, we have already replaced out-dated electrical switchgear and wiring, and are actively seeking funds for the retiling of the South Aisle roof, the repair of stonework on the tower, and the renovation of the South Porch. The report described St. Margaret's as 'much loved and well cared for'. Thank you to everyone who has loved and cared for the building and its congregation during the past year.
Hilda Golder and Hedley Grenfell-Banks
Hothfield History Society
The History Society has had a busy year. Our main achievement was that we were awarded £34,400 by the Heritage Lottery Fund. This money will be used over the next three years to do a number of specific things and we have to report back to the Lottery every month to let them know how we are progressing with our agreed programme. The success of the Lottery bid was largely due to the expertise and large amounts of personal time dedicated by Bob Rivers in making sure that everything was well researched and thought through. Bob said that this was the hardest bid that he had done and it took two attempts to satisfy the Heritage Lottery. We owe a huge amount of thanks to Bob in making all this happen.
We have also committed some of the History Society’s own funds towards the project. More importantly, our bid also showed financial commitment from some local Hothfield organisations and we are extremely grateful to the following for between them generously committing funds totalling £1,580 and for their ongoing support: Hothfield Educational Foundation, Godinton House Preservation Trust and Councillor Richard King.
Our first major purchase using the Heritage Lottery funding was a secure cabinet to hold all of our various Hothfield photos, documents and other items in one secure place and this arrived in March. We are very grateful to the Village Hall Committee for allowing us to store the new cabinet in the village hall.
A number of display cases have been installed at the village hall and also at Bluebells Children’s Centre and are being used for various historical dis-plays, currently showing pictures of the former Hothfield Manor, the Common during 1946 (showing Nissen Huts) and a display of some old pictures of the school.
Messages to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org continue to come in with some very interesting enquiries and requests about past families and some of our older buildings, and we’ve been pleased to tell them what we can.
We continue to carry out fund raising to enable us to purchase local historic artefacts and to carry out historical research. Our limited edition hessian ‘Old Bags’ have gone well and the last few remaining bags are available for sale at Hothfield Post Office priced £5 each.
This coming year we will be even more active as we are now having to deliver the programme that has been agreed with the Heritage Lottery Fund, including the purchase of archiving software as well as storage boxes, so that we can catalogue what we’ve got. This project will allow us to publish photos and information on the Internet and allow everyone to see it and search on it. This will provide much easier access to Hothfield’s rich heritage for you to read our story. Anyone without internet access can still contact us but we will be able to use our own system to dig out information and documents much easier for you. We are also hoping to provide you with assistance to research your own family histories using various websites.
Please look out in future newsletters for the Family History training and open sessions about researching buildings as well as for information about our free talks.
Everyone is welcome to come along to our AGM on Wednesday 16th May starting at 7pm at Bluebells. There will be a free talk by our guest speaker about the lives of Vagrants, Gypsies and Travellers in Kent. After the talk, we will be holding our Grand Prize Draw. This is your chance to win some fabulous prizes including a hot air balloon flight for two, tickets to Godinton House, Woodchurch Rare Breeds Centre, fish and chips at the Yellow Fisherman, a delicious hamper, presentation bottle of wine, one day’s fishing, a copy of ‘Hothfield in the 20th Century’ book and many more. Tickets are on sale at Hothfield Post Office priced £1 each. All proceeds will go towards the History Society to help us continue to purchase local historic items and to help us carry out research.
Lakeside Retirement Village
So much has happened since my last submission to the Annual Parish Meeting.
As many may be aware, the principal businesses involved at Lakeside entered Administration in November 2010. With reports of “Administrations” an all too frequent topic in the news during these challenging economic times, I thought I would take this opportunity of informing you, our neighbours just how this affects us.
Firstly and most importantly, we are still here providing service to our Residents. We are now managed by a team of the Administrator’s staff who work for Deloitte LLP and continue to function very much as normal. In fact, some may say we function better!
In the meanwhile, new owners for Lakeside are being sought and we hope that, when found, a greater sense of permanence will prevail for all concerned followed by the modernisation and improvement of the site which its Residents and location so richly deserve.
In previous reports I’ve stressed how keen we are to play our part in village life. This wish of course continues, so do feel free to call on us.
If anyone would like any further information about who we are and what we do, please feel free to contact me on 01233 714050, by email to email@example.com – or even better, come and have a chat over a cup of coffee.
Chris Taylor, Lakeside Village
Chapel Road, Hothfield TN25 4LN
[ On November 16th 2010, Richard Hawes and Robin Allen were appointed Joint Administrators and now manage the affairs, businesses and property of Care Village UK Ltd, Avonpark Care Centre Ltd, Village Community Care Ltd, Care Estates Ltd, Beamhazel Ltd, Avonpark Retirement Centre Ltd, Avonpark Residences Ltd, Bevanpark Ltd and Avonpark Estates Management Ltd (“the Group Companies”). The Joint Administrators contract as agents of the Group Companies and without personal liability.]
Hothfield Village Hall
In the last twelve months we have added to the improvements of the previous year. We have been generously supported, especially by Awards for All and Ashford Borough Council. A particular thank you to them. Further support was received from the Garfield Weston Trust, The Hothfield Parish Council and the Village Hall Lottery. Again our thanks go to them. This generous support has enabled us to purchase new tables and chairs. This meant we could get rid of the very heavy tables which were 'back-breakers' to move. It also allowed us to re-move the dangerous tree at the end of the car park, but not before a very expensive Bat Survey. We wonder what would have happened if the tree had come down on adjoining houses during the delay caused by having the Bat Survey carried out.
The Hall has now had the attic insulated together with Cavity Wall insulation. This will no doubt give us a saving on heating bills and will also be environmentally friendly. A new carpet and vinyl flooring have been laid. The stage has been renovated and we now have a large screen for film shows and the like.
Financially the Hall is stable, with regular bookings from such groups as the Dancers, The Rugby Tots, The Youth Project, Dog Handlers, The Bowls Club, Merry and Bright, The Darts Club, Afternoon Bingo Club and the Thursday night Bingo. These activities provide a steady income which makes financial planning possible.
The support of the Village is always needed and there have been occasions when the hard-working Committee has gone to a lot of trouble to organise an event only to find there is little or no support from the village. The Committee works very hard on your behalf, without much thanks or any reward, and they are to be congratulated on a job well done over the past year.
Thanks should also go to Peter Howard, who has replanted trees in place of those which had to be removed. It is also with regret that we have to say goodbye to Peter Patten who has worked so hard as the Treasurer for the Hall over a number of years. We would like to say a big thanks to him for his loyal support.
The Hothfield Educational Foundation
In 2009 the Charity Commission granted us the right to amend our Constitution so that it reflected the current needs of our village. The main objective of the Foundation is to promote education for all residents of the village, not only for those who attended Hothfield School, as in the past.
We have already seen the benefit of this widening of our scope in terms of grants made: last year we received more applications (18 in all) that resulted in just under £9,000 of grants to Hothfield residents and organisations, compared to £2,560 in 2009. The range of grants is wide - £10 to participate in a school trip and £93 for new school uniform to £3,000 for further education.
If you know of anyone living in the village who we might be able to support please ask them to contact Marianne Highwood, our Secretary, for further information on how to apply for funding. She can be reached by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in writing to Alder House, Hothfield, Ashford, Kent TN26 1EN.
Once again this year Thanet Charities has continued its work within the village.
The Charity has been able to provide a small number of hardship payments on top of the usual voluntary monthly donations. It also pays the rent for the hire of the Village Hall for the Pastoral coffee mornings held once a month in conjunction with St. Margaret's Church PCC.
Anyone wishing to apply to Thanet Charities for financial aid should submit their request in writing to Mrs P.A. Guy, Hon.Secretary, Thanet Charities at Garden House, Hothfield for the Trustees' consideration.
|Last Update 26.04.2012||
© 2012 Hothfield Parish Council