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We are disappointed that the supporters of CuriosiTEA rooms have deemed it appropriate to pursue a campaign of harassment and intimidation on social media, directed personally and systematically against the Trustees of this Charity and the Charity itself. We cannot allow a commercial business or its supporters to attempt to influence by intimidation the decisions we make on behalf of our Charity, or for our volunteer Trustees to find themselves the objects of social media bullying. It is a sad day when any Charity is forced to resort to seeking legal protection for its members but we have today put CuriosiTEA rooms on formal notice that any attempts by them or by their supporters to defame any of the Trustees, or the businesses that they are involved in, will be taken seriously and appropriate legal action taken.
In view of the ongoing campaign of harassment and the threat it currently poses to our charitable endeavours, to our Board of Trustees and to the attendees of any event we might organise at this present time, we have regrettably been obliged to cancel our plans for the Christmas Market event which was due to take place on 26th November. We are so very sorry to disappoint our local stallholders and the many villagers who expressed interest in this festive event.
The Trustees had hoped that relationships between the ourselves and CuriosiTEA rooms might have remained amicable and courteous until the natural expiry of the Lease, however the aggressive campaign which has been waged online and in the media against the Trustees since our communication regarding the end of the Lease in June 2022, has made this impossible. We have therefore, today, served Notice of Termination of Lease to CuriosiTEA rooms with a termination date of 1st January 2022. Whilst no reasons are required to be given by the Trustees in the exercise of their right, the evident break down in relations between CuriosiTEA rooms and the Board of Trustees has been a significant factor in our decision.
We thank all those amongst you who have offered your support to us and to our Charity over the last couple of months. We are a small group of Ivinghoe villagers who have opted to be volunteer Trustees of a charity whose aims we believe in and we intend to develop the Charity and its premises into a vibrant and welcoming community activity base with its own café.
We are working hard in preparation for the launch of the Ivinghoe Hub Community Café and will share updates on this project together with details of the many other community projects we will be proposing, in due course.
Ivinghoe Old School Hub Charity
The Trustees of this Charity have supported the local community for the past 10 years. The original Trustees rescued a historic building and then raised the funds to restore it, over time creating a community home for local residents to meet, hold meetings, clubs and hobby groups-The Ivinghoe Old School Hub.
The Hub Charity has a duty of care to maintain the entire building and cover the costs of all repairs and these can be costly in an old building. The Hub also purchased and maintains the kitchen equipment. For this reason the Charity elects to maintain an ongoing repair and maintenance fund of £7.5k, together with a general emergency fund of £7.5k. As newly elected Trustees we are grateful to have been given in trust a building that has been so well maintained and we will do all we can to make sure it remains that way.
We also have a duty of care to maintain, and where possible increase the level of support the Hub Charity is able to provide to the community. To do this we need to increase our yearly revenue which currently comes mainly from modest room rental fees. We plan to do this by bringing the management of the community cafe in house. In this way we can put 100% of the profits from its activities back into to the local community.
We want the community café to be run professionally and we therefore plan to employ a professional team to ensure that it is well managed and remains profitable. We will, in due course, welcome all applications for these remunerated roles and will also gratefully accept all offers of voluntary assistance. Our professional and volunteer team will enable us to provide extended opening hours as well as special events catering for other hub activities and neighbourhood outreach programs. The trust will channel all profits into local community groups and activities and provide vital support to the vulnerable in our villages.
Hi everyone – the Calendar is starting to fill up again! This month – Simply Walks, of course – and the regular KS2 Art Group, Guides Meetings, Crochet Group Meetings, and the Women’s Fitness Class – this last once a month on the first Monday! ALSO this month, the W.I. have their regular Craft Group on the last Wednesday – with the addition of a Random Reading Group and the new Board Games Club; Tessa Smith is running her Sewing Groups on the 28th, and there is an Arts Workshop on the 29th!
At the The Ivinghoe Old School Community Hub AGM on Wednesday (22 September 2021) it was announced that the lease held by the Curiositea Rooms for the last 3 years, which is due to come to an end in June 2022, would not be renewed by the hub trustees. There has been much comment about this decision and we, the new trustees, would like to address some of the concerns raised and offer reassurances to the community.
The first thing we would like to highlight is that we, the trustees, have nothing but admiration for the fantastic community spirit and service which Curiositea rooms have established during their time at the Hub. The Curiositea team are also rightfully to be commended for their charitable efforts, in particular over the last two years.
Who has made this decision to not renew the Curiositea Room’s lease?
The Ivinghoe Old School Community Hub was founded and has operated since 2013 as a legal charity whose function is to establish and maintain support for the wellbeing of the people in the communities of Ivinghoe and Pitstone. The Hub is managed by a group of volunteer trustees, whose job it is to preserve and maintain the historical Old School building whilst providing community activities and supporting local charitable endeavours through fundraising activities. The decision to not renew the lease was made by the outgoing trustees and supported by the incoming trustees.
So why have the trustees decided against renewing the lease for Curiositea Rooms?
The Ivinghoe Old School Community Hub operates first and foremost as a charity and a space for the community to come together, and has, in recent years, included a commercially run café: Curiositea Rooms, which pays rent to the Hub charity. With the current lease due to end in June 2022 there is an opportunity for the Hub to move towards its long-term ambition of being a community-run space which can support the Parish, local groups and businesses.
We have seen through the example of other successful community groups that it is possible to operate a community cafe in ways which increase the percentage of funds going directly into the community ‘pot’ whilst still maintaining the professional and welcoming aspect which we know everyone values in a ‘community cafe’ environment. In essence, and without providing exact details on how this would operate, as this is still in discussion, the premise is to move from simply banking modest rent from a commercial and separate business to another operational model which would increase the profits being ploughed back into the community. The trustees have a charitable responsibility to keep these matters under review.
The revenue possible from this kind of operation will likely be substantially higher than it currently is from rental revenue and will enable the Hub to extend its reach and its supportive efforts wider and deeper into the community it represents.
The lease on the café premises at the Hub comes to an end in June of 2022, so it was felt that in order to allow our tenants a maximum of time to consider this their next steps we would give an additional 3 months’ notice.
Those of us involved in this decision all agree that Curiositea Rooms team have set a high standard for what a community café should be, in particular because of their strong emphasis on ‘community’ and we would, of course, really appreciate their assistance with our next steps in our journey to create a vibrant and financially healthy community Hub.
Hi everyone – I am afraid that the threat of Covid-19 is still with us, so do please all take care! Our September Calendar reflects growing confidence with folk holding classes and events, but do get in touch with the organiser of your particular interest to ensure that all is going smoothly! Having said that – the Guides, Crochet Group, Simply Walks, the Key Stage 2 Art Group are all planning to go ahead – and a couple of private functions, as well as our own AGM – enjoy!
22nd SEPTEMBER 2021
Glorious Day on 28th August 2021 – Bank Holiday Saturday – a Free Barbeque, with the addition of lovely cakes, shortbread and flapjacks made by lovely village folk – also Tesco in Tring donated around £50 worth of groceries and essential stuff to make a Barbeque work! Many thanks to all!!