Drymen Village Hall on verge of closure as appeal for fundraiser volunteers launched

The committee of Drymen Village Hall have issued a desperate appeal for volunteers to help with fundraising as the hall faces closure after more than 110 years.

The Main Street facility is at the centre of many activities within the village, but is facing issues with attracting funding to keep the lights on and the doors open amid surging energy bills.

It has been in the community since 1910 when it was the main reading room and library, before being converted into the village hall in 1967 - but that history faces wipeout as the small team behind it struggle to keep up.

Recent analysis carried out by the hall’s committee revealed that it takes in around £165 a month in income from hall users - but that figure is being vastly outstripped by four-figure running costs.

Hall coordinator Rowan Higgins told the Observer that without an influx of support to help raise more funds, the hall faces a bleak future.

She said: “We’ve been looking at the accounts in the last few months and there has been more coming out than coming in.

“For example, our electricity bill this month was around £1,900 and for January, it was £2,000.

“We saw the response to the library potentially closing and everyone was horrified about that, so we wanted to get the word out there that the hall is going to shut in a few months if we don’t get the funding - probably four months would be the maximum.

“We had a good year last year because we secured specific funding for activities, such as the warm space but that has ended now and funding is no longer available.

“Our open doors coordinator who helped on the warm space is no longer employed by us and volunteers for us and I’ve also had to cut back my hours and get another job.

“We want people to get on board to help run some fundraising events; we had a jazz night on the 17th which made a few hundred pounds, but that took one person to set up the hall for 100 people until I could get there for five o’clock after my work.”

The hall is currently run by a small team of four on its committee, with Rowan employed to run the events.

Drymen Village Hall Open Doors Project; pictured are Stirling MSP Evelyn Tweed (centre) flanked by Rowan Higgins (left) and Jackie Saunders (right), both of Drymen Village Hall
Drymen Village Hall Open Doors Project; pictured are Stirling MSP Evelyn Tweed (centre) flanked by Rowan Higgins (left) and Jackie Saunders (right), both of Drymen Village Hall -Credit:handout/UGC

But with the funding options drying up, she has issued a call for locals to get on board to save the facility’s future.

One of the options mooted is running a ‘family-friendly’ coverage of the upcoming Euro 2024 football tournament at the hall, with locals being quizzed on whether they would support that for a small charge.

“A couple of years ago, a few people stepped down from the committee and we had to find new members then because it would have been shut with only three members”, Rowan continued.

“It worked and the people who came forward then are still involved, but we got very few locals at our last AGM, three or four who are involved with events at the hall anyway.

“We need that fresh blood and expertise on the fundraising side of things - the funding for the warm bank kept us going, it allowed us to employ someone and pay for the heating and tea and biscuits but that has gone now.

“It’s such a lovely hall with so much space, but we just can’t afford it at the moment.

“It is the centre of everything in the village, everyone uses it for some reason - whether that’s playgroup, senior citizens or even food collections on a Friday - it helps people make connections.”

To get involved with helping the hall, you can email halloffice@drymen.org.