The Birbury

The Committee’s officers and membership for 2015-2016 are:-

Jenny Hawes                 Village Representative;  Chair
Jackie Westcott            Secretary (appointed)
Leslie Turner                  Village Representative;  Treasurer
Gaynor Davy                 Parish Council Representative
Pauline Meade              Village Representative
Barbara Munro              Ladies’ Circle Representative
Jan Seenan                   Co-opted
Dick Withingron             Parochial Church Council Representative

It is probably a good time to remind villagers of the existence of the Village Distribution Fund which is looked after by the Birbury Committee.   The Fund was originally set up to “enhance and sustain the community life of Birdingbury and its inhabitants.”    It “makes grants to groups of people to fund specific assets or one-off activities that support the Fund’s goals up to a maximum of £1000 per application, paid against invoices.”    The Fund was fed by a share of profits from Birdingbury Country Festival (forerunner of the Country Show)  until a few years ago but, apart from a donation of £200 from the Country Show Committee in 2013, it has received no income for about five years.   Recent grants have included the cost of the village Christmas tree and support for a pantomime trip organised by the Club.

Anyone interested in knowing more about the Fund – and thinking of putting in a bid – should get in touch with the Birbury’s Treasurer, Leslie Turner, on 633755.

Your Birbury Committee.

About The Birbury

The Birbury is our community meeting room.   Built in 1986-7, and officially opened on 2 May 1987, it is separate from but attached to the Club – it’s the red-brick part of the building in the picture above.

It was funded by contributions from many people in the village and beyond and the building work was carried out by local labour, much of it voluntary.

The room is run as a charitable trust by a Management Committee made up of three people elected at the Annual General Meeting plus representatives from user-groups such as the Church, the Club, the Parish Council the Ladies’ Circle, Swap-Shop and so on.   At present the Chair is Jenny Hawes, the Secretary is Jackie Westcott and the Treasurer is Leslie Turner.

The room-hire cost is £5 per session (morning, afternoon or evening) or £10 for the whole day.   This income doesn’t cover its running costs but is supplemented by fund-raising events organised by the Committee.

There are toilets at the far end of the Club which Birbury hirers may use.  They are normally locked during the day so if they’re likely to be needed you’d need to book them when booking the room (with Jackie Westcott).

The kitchenette has an electric jug, a large water-boiler and washing-up gear.   Crockery, cutlery and some glasses are available although hirers may, of course, bring their own equipment if they wish.   The village also owns a larger quantity of crockery, cutlery and wine-glasses which is kept elsewhere and is available for free use upon request.

There are three wall-mounted electric heaters and a fan heater is also available if needed.   On very cold days it’s worthwhile switching on the wall-heaters half-an-hour or so before the meeting is due to start.   There is also a charge for electricity, with a pound-in-the-slot meter in the kitchen.    You may get away with just using whatever may be left over from the last user’s contribution but it would be wise to make sure you’ve got a pound coin just in case the juice runs out while you’re there, especially in the winter months when the room-heaters are fairly greedy.

Normally, the room has 20 chairs and six tables with more available from a nearby store if requested.

The room can be used as a self-contained unit; as such it’s been used for events such as a produce swap-shop, a coffee-shop, cards afternoons, children’s parties, Parish Council and other meetings.   In committee-style, around a central table- arrangement, up to 20 people could meet.   With people sitting four to each small table, around 24 could meet.  Theatre-style, with one table at the front, about 40 could be seated.  Hirers may want to bring their own decorations to suit the occasion.

There is a double-door connection into the Club which makes it possible (by arrangement with the Club Committee) for both the Birbury and the Club to be used together.   The Birbury and Club Committees encourage and welcome such events.   They are actively engaged in exploring ways in which the two facilities can be used jointly and flexibly even more, in line with villagers’ wishes as expressed in the Parish Plan (2009) survey.

The key to the room is usually available from Jackie Westcott at Loen (Main Street, opposite the room).

If you want more information about the Birbury, call Jenny on 632678 or Jackie on 632494.

The Birbury Committee