This report includes the completion of the contract for the restoration of the building, and the payment of the final sums due to Darrock and Brown at the end of the retention period of 12 months. The grant from West Devon Borough Council was duly received and this enabled us to pay the sum of £5957.06 due on the contract. The financial results for the year have been most encouraging with our balance of £4488 reflecting the result of a varied programme of events held in Church House during 2006
Within a few days of re-opening, Church House was in use and we have been delighted by the response during the first year. We have had some activity or other on 220 days, with a very wide variety of organisations and individuals able to take advantage of the excellent facilities that can now be provided. Everyone has appreciated the rather special ambiance of the space, and we have had many re-bookings. The full list of those using the building is on the website, but they include the Dartmoor National Park Authority, Devon County Council (TA Induction) Devonshire Association (buildings Section), Royal Marines, several local committees for their AGMs. Retreats and Quiet Days have been held, with the Diocesan Prayer School, St. David’s Exeter, Julian Quiet Day, and several organised by our Rector.
Kari Mc.Gowan has held painting groups on almost 60 occasions, and our Chairman John Christian has held an Exhibition, painting days and Dowsing days. Ron Andrews staged a 10 day exhibition of conceptual art based on the use of Church House for the training of Dairy Maids, and Kari and her artists displayed their work when village gardens were open. Village events include the Safari Supper, Folk Festival activities and our own Church House Ale.
Encounters are held each month, when a speaker gives an illustrated talk on subjects of interest. We have also held a most successful Village Voices evening when attendance almost reached capacity. However, Encounters have generally not been well patronised, and we need to consider this for the coming year.
The RIBA awarded Church House a 2006 Conservation Award after 4 Architects came to inspect the building in the summer. Our architects travelled to Guernsey to accept the certificates. We have also been awarded a Certificate of High Commendation in the Edward Morshead Award 2006.
We participated in Heritage Open Days in conjunction with the Civic Trust during September. However, we did not get many extra visitors, and we will not take part next year. Our own Open Days on Sunday and Wednesday each week from April to the end of October were successful and we welcomed more than 1130 people from far and wide. The 26 volunteer stewards managed very well in what was for all of us a new venture, and our morning coffee and cream teas were popular. Local visitors often brought their guests and returned several times. We have joined the Dartmoor Tourist Association, and feel that in future this will help our publicity. We do not at present have an advertising budget, and will wait and see how bookings come in during 2007. However we are on the West Devon Arts website and do use local press and Radio Devon for coming events. Whilst the lower room is well used, we are somewhat restricted in letting upstairs for other than small meetings and exhibitions during the day.
We have added to our stock of tables and bought a projector screen, both in response to requests from users of the building. We have paid for the installation of hanging rails on both floors, and bought gallery hangings. These have already been used during the exhibitions. An attractive and suitable pair of curtains has been bought for the ground floor room to divide off the facilities and to help when another meeting is held in the upper rooms.
The Committee and sub-committee met on 6 occasions during the year.
During the year Pete Kilgannon (who produced the complete record of the restoration) and his wife left the village to live in France. We would like to place on record our gratitude for the many hours he has spent in undertaking this labour of love, and the financial contribution he made in doing this work. He will, however, still be maintaining this web site from his new home there. At our final meeting of the year, the committee agreed that we should ask Deborah Craske to join us on her appointment as Stewards Co-ordinator. She very kindly offered to take over from David, who accepted with alacrity!
We can look forward to 2007 with quiet confidence, and are hopeful that various contacts made with potential new users of Church House will come about. The planning for our 2007 Church House Ale is underway, and a meeting for that purpose will be held shortly.
David Youle January 2007