Imogen Morizet | 26th February 2011

On 4th March, the Westgate Community Trust will celebrate its first birthday! And we’re looking forward to our second year of campaigning to save our unique Westgate Hall for use by all of us who live in Canterbury, the District and beyond. It was built by public subscription at the beginning of the last century for use by Canterbury residents, and we intend to remain true to the Hall’s civic origins.

It’s been an amazing year. Not so many months ago, the Hall was doomed for closure in December 2010 and the wrecking ball not long after. Now, we have indeed put our foot in the door thanks to all your support expressed through protest, petitions, letters to the press, Facebook, and, most importantly, by taking part in events at the Hall and completing our Trust questionnaire — almost 700 of you so far! — telling us how you see the Hall’s future.

However, the next months will be decisive. Our reprieve depends on the Trust’s ability to produce a business plan that guarantees the Hall’s financial viability and independence as a community hub. And the Council is working with us to this end. If convinced by our plan, the Council will hand us the keys. If not, it will make arrangements for closure and demolition. The Council is covering the Hall’s running costs until September 2011.

This is where your contribution is vital. Please consider translating emotional support for the Hall and the role it plays in our community’s life into financial support by becoming Trust members.

The Trust aims to raise £10,000 by September this year to cover “take over” costs and those incurred while producing the business plan (printing, publicity, legal fees, insurance, initial running costs etc.). Our fundraising capacity will confirm community commitment. We have already raised an incredible £3000. Huge thanks to all of you who have contributed.

In return for joining, members will receive information about our events and meetings and will be able to vote on the major issues faced by the Trust. The form also invites members to consider donating some time to volunteering at Trust events, or expertise in helping us translate community priorities, expressed through responses to our survey, into Trust programmes (e.g. toddler group, cinema club, indoor sports). Our membership form is attached, and may also be completed on our website Forms are also available at Trust events.

In the meantime, our heartfelt thanks to all who have supported us and helped us reach this point. We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events, and meeting you at our Trust gatherings.