The Lyn Valley Society was formed as the Residents Associations about 17 years ago and got involved with the Town Hall Lift Project. Lynton had lost it's hospital beds, the Methodist Church was closed and the Town Hall was struggling to find the money for upkeep and improvements. A public meeting was arranged and there was a lot of interest shown and the Residents Association (later to be known as The Lyn Valley Society) was formed we began fund raising, holding our usual coffee mornings, lunches etc. And then the Treble Chance Lottery, an Auction and a "Titsbits" exhibition amongst other thing. Over the years donations have been received from clubs in the town and private people and we have been very grateful for continuing support from now a small group of members. When at a parish Meeting the lift was the second priority of the council after the heating was installed, we looked into the project and set aside £75000, as we could have done it much cheaper years ago! However the listed Building Authority would not agree to early schemes, one of which was an external lift, but eventually agreed on the position where the back staircase was. This has meant a very big job of removing the stairs, taking down walls and securing the lift shaft. We have since added £20000 to our set aside funds and have contributed "£90000 to help the council with the cost of the lift. the Exmoor National Park Authority added a sustainability grant of £80,000 and we were very grateful when Lynton Council made up the difference. It was then decided that the toilet for the disabled should be included at the same time and the work began. The lift has now been installed and is working successfully. Now the Town Hall has access for the disabled through the side entrance and the Jubilee Room and into the lift on the same level, so that bookings for the Large Hall upstairs can include access for wheelchairs etc.
During the wait we continued to give money to other local projects such as the school, the playgroup (now Exmoor stepping stones), Light up Lynton, Lyn in Bloom, Middleham Gardens just to name a few.
We have also helped with other improvements to the interior of the Town Hall, New electric wiring, new plumbing, and underfloor heating upstairs in the main Hall and money towards new windows. We are now a small band of 12 members who are all very loyal and hard working volunteers, plus our non-member volunteers in the Bookshop. Our main fundraising over the last 10 years has been a community bookshop.
The bookshop began its life at the Town Hall just ten years ago, where donated second hand books are sorted and cleaned before making their way onto the shelves.
Local people and visitors make the shop very popular. It's open most days, but sometimes we have to close when we don't have a volunteer available.
When the bookshop was started, instead of paying rent to the town council for putting it in the Town Hall, we agreed to put 60% of the profits towards the Town Hall. The other 40% goes to local good causes that have asked for our financial help and is given out every month.
The Town Hall is a very important part of the community — it's our equivalent to a village hall and the community feels it belongs to them, under the control of the Town Council.
Before the bookshop, we used to run an exhibition in the Town Hall called Titbits. The bookshop is doing really well, but volunteers have dwindled a bit.
A local history buff, has drawn up a fun quiz sheet which can also be picked up in the Town Hall.