First of all, a very happy Christmas to you all, and all our best wishes for the New Year!

We are now pretty much ready to take over the Westgate Hall and, if the legal work progresses well, the Trust and Corinthian Curzon will be signing the leases to take over Westgate Hall in the next few weeks… and by the end of the summer Canterbury should have a great community hall and a 3-screen art cinema in the centre of town.

As part of this process the Trust is changing legal status, from a community group to a charity (to be precise, a company limited by guarantee with charitable status). To finalise this change we will be asking the members to vote on transferring the community group’s assets to the charity and, if that is agreed, all the members will be asked to transfer their membership to the charity as well.

We are also pretty much ready to apply for planning permission, working hard to raise additional funds and finally, preparing to run the Hall as a real community venue.

We would like to invite you all to join us for the following events:

12th January, Westgate Hall (West room, downstairs)
At 7pm: General Members Special meeting, vote to transfer the community group assets to the new charity. The meeting is open to everyone but the vote is restricted to current members. Membership forms for the new charity will be available at the meeting. We will also discuss progress in our take over preparations and fundraising.

At 8pm: Presentation of the refurbishment plans, open to everyone. The Trust’s architect and surveyor will present the plans and answer questions, giving everyone a chance to comment or raise any concerns before we submit the planning application.

18th January: Tile painting evening at Espression café (29-30 Palace street), 7 to 9pm. Paint a tile for the 100 years of the Westgate Hall wall. The tiles will fill a wall in the café and remind everyone of what can be achieved when the community pulls together. A contribution of £5 per tile will cover the costs and help raise funds for the refurbishment of the Hall. If you cannot make that evening you can go and paint Westgate Hall tiles at Espression cafe any other time, just mention that they are for the Hall.

29th of January, 11 to 3, Westgate Hall Indoor Boot Fair: to raise funds for the refurbishment and help everyone clear out and give old things a new life. Tables are £5, doors open at 10 for stall holders. To book a table email: wct@westgatecommunityhall.org.uk or call Chris on 01227 712355.

26th of February, 12 to 4, Westgate Hall Bring and Fix: a fair that brings together people of different ages to share their skills and knowledge – to help each other out and have fun doing it. It is an event where we ‘fix’ small things for each other, seek and provide advice, come up with solutions.

At the moment we are looking to recruit volunteer ‘fixers’: can you mend a hole, translate something, glue or put something back together, sew a button back on, fix a bike, resolve a computer issue, get someone on Twitter, show how to make the most of a mobile phone, polish shoes, provide garden tips, advice on cooking, tune an instrument… or do you have some other skill that you would like to share?

If you would like to take part, please let us know on wct@westgatecommunityhall.org.uk or call 0845 689 0213.

And save the 31st of March for a Westgate Hall takeover party! Any suggestions/offers welcome, haven’t started party planning yet.

And as we get ready to run the Hall as a community venue we are looking to recruit new volunteers who can help make this happen.  Please get in touch with us if you would like to start volunteering.  This needn’t be a regular commitment.  One-off help with events and activities is extremely valuable too. We need all sorts of skills: IT (databases, mailing lists…), design, organisational skills, fundraising…

Finally, we have a very special request:

we suspect the Westgate Hall was built in 1912 (as the deeds show that the land was acquired by the Territorials in December 1911). A centenary celebration just when we take the Hall over seems almost too good to be true, and to help us establish if that is the case, we are looking for a volunteer to search the archives of the Kentish Gazette as we expect the paper would have reported about the St Peter’s Lane Drill Hall (as it was then). We would also be interested, more generally, in finding out more about the history of the Hall so that we can mark it appropriately. Do let us know if you would like to help, or have any information.

Looking forward to a very exciting year ahead when we can all enjoy the results of people power!


Artwork by Liz Findlay