Show mobile menu
Show search control
Show search control
Search Site

Active in Anstey

Anstey village hall is buzzing with activities, from a FAEH class in the morning or evening, to a film club or perhaps a play put on by the local school

A village hall committee made up of enthusiastic members coupled with an exciting exercise programme inspired by East Herts Council has been the driver for the hall's regeneration.

Just over two years ago at a packed public meeting, villagers were told that the hall, built in 1982, was under threat of closure or sale.

Hall saved

The threat motivated people to step forward and get involved, in particular Kate Oxley, who now chairs the 10-strong committee, and husband Dave who took on the role of publicity.

Kate explained: "We held some social events that were also fund raisers, including a dance and some music evenings.

"We also discovered that we were paying too much for the heating and we got a refund of £3,000, which we've used for a better system."

"Then we heard about Forever Active East Herts and that's been a big factor in regenerating the hall. It gave us the momentum. We've got five classes during the day as well as two other independent exercise classes in the evenings.

Popular classes

"We started by carrying out a survey, asking everyone in the village what classes they would like and the three most popular were Pilates, table tennis and yoga." Zumba and carpet bowls are also popular classes.

East Herts Council pays for coaches for the classes and equipment including the table tennis tables and bats and yoga mats.

People asked for an evening yoga class which started up this year.

Kate said: "At first it was the more active who were attending and then as word spread, people who were more nervous about taking part in case it was too strenuous, started to come along.

"The great thing is that the first class is free and then it's pay as you go. That was very attractive and meant that those who were more apprehensive could give it a go without having to make a big commitment."

Village hub

Dave said: "People do appreciate all that's going on in the hall now. It makes it more of a social centre.

"We've got a newsletter that also goes to Measdon and Brent Pelham. I don't think there can be many people who aren't aware of what's happening."

The neighbouring Anstey Primary School, which doesn't have its own hall, uses the village hall for PE or if they have a visiting speaker, a school play or a fund raising event. The hall has also been able to provide them with some valuable storage space.

The film club meets eight times/year and has been made possible in part thanks to East Herts Council which provided a grant for comfortable chairs.

So what's next for Anstey village hall? "We've got a concrete floor so even with the heating it's very cold in winter and the mother and toddler group doesn't come because the floor is at the children's' level," explained Kate. "So we're now fund-raising for that."