A visit to St Michael's Hall a couple of weeks ago confirmed two things - we've got a fantastic group of very talented people in Stone and secondly, the provision and financing of community buildings in the town is becoming a very real issue.
Firstly, the talent. Jan and I spent an hilarious couple of hours at Maplins Holiday Camp splitting our sides with laughter and yelling "Hi di hi" at the appropriate moments! Yes, it was the Revellers' summer production of the same name - and it was amazing! Obviously based on the television series of a few years ago, the cast pulled off some superb performances. John Wright's grumpy old character telling everyone to "Sod off" will last long in the memory! Included in the admission price was a supper of fish, chips and mushy peas at the interval - now that's a proper night out! Well done, Revellers!
But as we left we were handed a piece of paper appealing for funds to maintain and renovate the hall. Work is required on the roof, the electrics and the plumbing and the target was £45,000. Which has made me think yet again about how community space in the town is financed. St. Michael's Hall is appealing for funds. St John's Church Hall closed a year or so ago when the ceiling became unsafe. The Town Council are considering giving the Frank Jordan Centre back to the Borough Council because it is, in the words of one councillor, a "white elephant". The Scouts Gang Shows have to be held in The Gatehouse at Stafford because there is no hall suitable in Stone but they cannot afford to rehearse there. Walton Community Centre has pulled itself out of the doldrums of a few years ago and Christchurch Annexe is operating very successfully. But these two venues on their own will never be able to cope with the demand.
So the old conumdrum still exists - how can we provide and finance a community building in Stone suitable for the many and varied requirements that exist and where could it be put? Answers on a postcard, please?