A vision for the future at South Petherton

WE all need some good news at present – or at least positive signs of an arts organisation that is looking beyond the current crisis. Petherton Arts Trust, which runs the David Hall at South Petherton, launched its ambitious Vision 2025 project just before the coronavirus pandemic really bit, and will be working towards its long-term objective despite the current shut-down.

Petherton Arts Trust (PAT) is faced the need for extensive structural work on the venue, which was originally a church. The board has decided to also use the opportunity to  enhance the facilities offered in the hall.

A detailed survey of the building has confirmed that its roof and stonework require major restoration work. To pay for this, PAT will need to apply for a substantial National Lottery grant, and to organising a fund-raising campaign for the additional money needed.

“This undertaking is a major project which we are calling David Hall 2025 Vision,” says Cliff Keating, acting chairman of PAT. “We do not yet know the overall cost of the work but it is likely that we shall need at least five years to reach the total amount required, complete the structural work, and undertake the addition of a new kitchen, an annex and a store room, plus improvements to the office facilities.”

The survey identified a crack in the mounting stone for the David Hall’s weathervane. On recent inspection, it was found that the vane and some stonework needed to be removed, as they posed a potential risk. Thanks to generous donations from supporters of  the hall and South Petherton Local History Group, the removal was carried out. The wrought-iron weathervane was found to be slightly damaged and badly corroded, and significant repair and restoration is needed before it can be repositioned. The cost for this will be covered by fundraising. “The weathervane’s eventually replacement will be the crowning act of our David Hall 2025 Vision,” said Mr Keating.

He added: “The David Hall is a lively community venue that many local people enjoy on a weekly basis – from health and wellbeing activities and social events to some of the best entertainment anywhere in the South West. The David Hall 2025 Vision will enable PAT to provide an even more diverse programme and champion community engagement in arts and culture. The Board is confident that its supporters will also help us to keep on providing great experiences for the local community by assisting with numerous fundraising events. Together, we intend to safeguard the David Hall for the next 100 years!”

Petherton Folk Fest postponed

MEANWHILE the organisers of the Petherton Folk Fest, scheduled for Saturday 13th June, at South Petherton, have announced the postponement of the event.

Chairman Pete Wheeler said: “These are extreme circumstances that we all find ourselves in and therefore the committee unanimously decided that there was no alternative but to cancel/postpone the event to next year. We promise that we will be back bigger and better on Saturday, 19th June 2021!

“A massive thanks to our committee, sponsors, artists, dancers, stall holders and all those who work so hard to make this such a successful event.”