In terms of major project achievement, 2019 has been a quieter year for Kippen Reading Rooms, compared to our original expectations. However, in terms of day to day activities, solid progress has been achieved in developing the use of our facilities for the people of the village.
The exterior front of the building has been repainted, including the front door, which has greatly improved its appearance. External piping has been painted, together with door frames and soffits. Window sills have required attention, and rotted woodwork has been replaced.
The front door now opens easily, and safety rails have been installed at the front steps. Lighting has been installed above the Defibrillator and above the front door step and we now have an operational front door bell.
During the year, the new upstairs accommodation for the Heritage Records was completed, and the installation of the village archive records, donated by Winnie Dunlop was finally achieved. These records are now safely under lock and key in the new office, when not on display in the main hall.
Many thanks are due to John Walsh, whose persistence with contractors has been essential.
Although many of our activities were covered in the September ‘Wee Vine’ we are anxious to reach new readers to increase participation in the Rooms. All our activities need more support and participation.
The Kippen Cuppa has been highly successful as a social event, bringing people in to the rooms every Thursday afternoon. Also, the Children’s Library started well, although we are in need of more helpers to manage it.
The Aldous family have continued to manage our garden, and also the installation of the children’s outdoor library (on a summer basis), and a new container for books has now been built.
In addition, Kippen Heritage, in the Reading Rooms, present, on our walls, their photographic displays for both the Old Cemetery and Bell Tower and the Archaeological Dig at Keir Hill of Dasher.
Our upper rooms and main hall have continued to be used for a wide range of committee meetings, both for clubs and for councillors and members of both the Scottish and Westminster parliaments.
The WRI continues as a faithful user, and hold most of its indoor activities in the rooms.
The Quilters have also remained active on Saturday mornings.
The Film nights, presented by Mike Flint have continued successfully, fitting snugly into the Main Hall.
The building remains as a potential operating base for Kippen Risk and Resilience operations, in the event of activation of a disaster plan.
The main hall is in regular and almost daily use, both for Keep Fit and for the more mystical activities such as Callanetics and Qi Gong and Under Five Ballet classes.
Summer Ice has not been active during the year, but it is believed that a number of “retired” ice curlers wish to set up a new weekly group. Could anyone who is interested in participating please initially contact the Reading Rooms Committee or Ian Leith who is the “summer ice skip”. Other villages in the area have revived their participation on their rinks, so that the tradition of inter-village competition could easily be revived to form a social network.
Our hardworking Secretary has been working on a computer based booking system and has contributed hugely to the day to day running of the whole operation, and we thank her for all this work.
Following the news that we had been awarded a project grant from the Windmill scheme, it was made clear that much work had still to be done in order to seek the funding level necessary for commitments to be made in launching our kitchen project.
There has also been has been the realisation that both the Mitchell Trust and Kippen Reading Rooms must review their legal positions in order to achieve the Charity Status necessary to qualify for major grant funding and to avoid penal Water Charges.
Our committee therefore interviewed a professional fundraiser and called in the services of George Craig to steer us through the legal complexities which need to be addressed.
The next biannual jumble sale will take place at the end of March. The Committee is very grateful for all the “treasuries” which are donated and hope very much that that support will continue.