A CRISIS at the Burbage Village Hall has been averted after several locals put themselves forward as trustees to keep the facility open.

Nearly 80 people attended an emergency meeting last Thursday at the popular hall, in Eastcourt Road, to discuss the fate of the venue, which looked set to close in June due to a shortage of trustees.

However, thanks to the Gazette writing about the issue back in February, three new trustees have been found and they will help with running the vital community asset through secretarial, treasury, fundraising and contract work.

Now that the hall's future is secured, trustee Louise Clarke said that in the next few weeks the trustees will look into making improvements to the hall and searching for grants as well.

"I cannot tell you how delighted we all are that this hugely important facility will remain open. Just a couple of months ago it looked like it would close but now we can breathe a sigh of relief," she said.

"We were all very worried and it would have been a disaster if it closed as it is used by so many people for so many different things. Our elderly volunteers began to move away which made it very hard for us.

"The response we have had has been fantastic. To get so many people to come down for the meeting was superb. The village and the Gazette rallied round us and for that we are very grateful.

"We had five trustees, but just three of them lived locally so they could only do so much but now we have got three new trustees to help, a further six who are waiting to be co-opted and another six volunteers too, which is brilliant.

"Now we can look forward to an exciting future by drawing up a plan to improve the place. Our roof needs repairing and we want to decorate the hall as well and make it better."

Ever since the hall stopped being a trust a few years ago and became a charitable incorporated organisation, a legal entity that can enter into contracts in its own right, that is where the shortages started as trustees that were full-time, then became part-time.

Fellow trustee Keith Jones, who chaired the meeting, said: "I was very pleased at the turnout as it shows people really care about the village hall and I am very happy it will remain open."

The hall, which has a maximum capacity of 150 people, was built in 1974 and was used for big events and for the local Royal British Legion branch before becoming a village hall in 1990.