Where does the Institute go in the future?
The older residents of the villages will tell of the days when this was one of the focal points of village life, with dances every weekend. Clearly the way people live has moved on since those days; but the Committee believe that it’s important to have somewhere where the people of the villages can meet, and within Farnhill itself, the Institute and the Chapel are the only buildings available to the public.
We have tried to increase use of the Institute, but it’s difficult – the building isn’t easy to heat and keep warm, and although it’s a good size, licensed for up to 100 people, the layout means that it’s not ideal for all types of event. For example, we don’t have room for a stage, we have no lighting other than normal ceiling lights, and there is no sound system in the building. In addition, we also have to be conscious that we are only a few yards away from people’s homes. We try hard to be a “good neighbour” and a part of that is that we have ruled out some types of event – teenage parties, for example – and we impose a strict curfew on night-time events.
We’ve also been criticised for a failure to publicise the Institute and our events; however, we have regularly leafleted all the houses in the villages, we have put up posters around the villages, used the Craven Herald, the Internet, and in recent times have started to use the “A” board outside the Institute itself. We’ve tried all these methods, in various combinations, but it has proved hard to attract more than the usual “regular” attendees. We’re also conscious that parking in Farnhill is very restricted, and if we spread our publicity much wider than the villages that in itself becomes a problem.
We can’t tell you how many times members of the Committee have been told something along the lines of “I’ve lived in the village for 10 years, and I’ve never set foot in the building ....”
We also try to work with other groups in the villages. This will be the fifth year that we have been part of the Kildwick Summer Fair, working together with Kildwick Primary School and St Andrews Church. And as you may know, last year was our Centenary; we held an “open weekend” during November and worked closely with the Local History Group in putting together the exhibits; it was great to see so many people meeting together in the Institute. That Group also organised a talk at the Institute earlier in 2012, with the Institute committee helping with running the event on the evening.
We aim to keep the cost to a competitive level – and when we have compared our charges with other halls in the area, we have always come out very well. One of the reasons we have been able to do this is due to the support that we get from Farnhill Parish Council and Kildwick Parish Meeting; and in recognition of this, we give a discount against those already low prices for residents of the village, who make a contribution to the running costs through their Council Tax charges.
And that remains our focus – to continue to provide a comfortable, pleasant, reasonably priced facility for Farnhill and Kildwick, to form some kind of a focus at the heart of the village, as we have for the last 100 years .....