EMERGENCY cash is needed to keep Gunnislake Public Hall open until it gains charitable status and can acquire grants to secure its long term future, members of Calstock Parish Council were told last week.

A new constitution is being drawn up for the hall. It has run on Gunnislake Social funds in the past but these have now dried up.

At a crisis meeting in September there was overwhelming support to keep the hall open but its future relies on it becoming a charity so the hall can, for the first time, have access to outside funds.

The trustees of the hall have written to Calstock Parish Council asking for grant aid while this transition takes place.

In a letter to the council the trustees said for many years they had vested the running of the hall with the social club and while the club thrived, this arrangement worked well for all and the building was insured, maintained and well used. But with a decreased income, the social club had decided it could no longer sustain this arrangement.

A steering committee was now in place to establish a management committee and explore the way to obtaining a charitable trust status.

The trustees said: 'Whilst setting up this new structure and obtaining the charitable trust status is the long-term objective, there is a short-term problem of supporting the hall through the transition period.'

Cllr Dorothy Kirk, who is on the steering committee, said about £2,000 was needed to pay for legal expenses and the general heating and electricity costs: 'We are working with bodies, including the Cornwall Rural Community Council and Caradon District Council, but it will take some time.'

She added that the parish council had given financial assistance to other halls in the parish before and felt it should in this instance.

'If we lose this hall we will never get it back —there will be no future if we cannot get over this period,' she said.

Cllr John Roberts said: 'I think we should pull out all the stops we can. It is very important to keep the village hall going in this interim period.'

It was agreed to pass the matter to the finance committee with more details of the exact money that was needed and what for.