Farley Hill’s Community Victory (Hall)
I did not win the fancy dress competition… I was a killer tomato, why did I not win?
On 29 October, the costumes came out and the village of Farley Hill descended on Victory Hall for a Halloween Disco of spectacular proportions. Though the disguises may have been scary, the sense of community was anything but! “The effort that a very small village can put into getting dressed up when quite frankly there are better things to watch on the telly is heartwarming and makes organizing such an event worth the effort,” said Christiaan Munro of the Farley Hill Village Society.
A Village without a Pub
When the local pub, the Fox and Hounds, closed a few years back, the people of Farley Hill lost an essential social outlet: a place where people could gather and foster a sense of community. Despite the efforts of a few local villagers to reopen the establishment, the pub was turned into a residential home. The village was left without a place to socialize.
Bringing a Village Together
The Farley Hill Village Society was founded in 2009 “to develop stronger sense of community in Farley Hill, Berkshire and raise funds to repair and maintain Victory Hall.” Victory Hall is a registered charity, which brings in money in a variety of ways from fundraising to collecting membership fees. Members pay a small annual fee and receive benefits such as discounted entry to events held at the hall throughout the year.
In August of this year Victory Hall received a grant of £10,000 from the National Lottery. The money was used to pay for repairs to the roof, windows and improved heating. Without the generous grant, the group would have had to have raised the funds itself, which would have taken much longer.
Celebrate Good Times
The Halloween Spooktacular held at Victory Hall was a fun way to get the community together to dance in Halloween costumes. However, the hall did benefit from the event. Christian explained, “Fundraising was not the primary goal of the event but we did raise well-needed money towards the upkeep of the hall.”
Engaging the Community
How do you get a group of individuals to take time and effort from their everyday lives to sell tickets for a community centered Halloween disco? Old fashioned guilt! “Each member of the society was ‘given’ tickets to sell, so guilt plays a big part of the tactic,” Christiaan said. “Co-opt as many people as you can into helping.” When community members are engaged with an organization, they will rise to the cause when needed.
In order to advertise the event, the Farley Hill Village Society used a mixture of new and old technology. “Email/web site/mail drop and word of mouth. We find the mail drop works best as emails tend to get lost in folks busy lives. A chunk of paper to stick on the fridge seems to still work even in this technological age!”
Save Time for your Costume
To keep it professional and save time, the group chose to design and print tickets from Eventgroove. “The fast service alongside the fact that you can design and order online without printing out and faxing a form means less time wasted when there are better things to be getting on with,” Christiaan told me.
Empower and Have Fun
When it seemed like the village of Farley Hill would be without a place to gather, its citizens found a way. They brought new life to Victory Hall, became organized fundraisers, and created a place where all the members of the community come together, socialize, and dance to disco beats in costume!