‘Friday night the Royal Albert Hall, Saturday night Settle Victoria Hall’.

SVH Ann 10
Ann Harding - Settle Victoria Hall

Ann Harding has a knack for electrifying the rural market town of Settle.

She has brought lights, camera, and action to Settle Victoria Hall, transforming it into a thriving arts and community centre.

“Bands say have you heard of this secret place in the country packed at night time! It makes us laugh. – Ann.

Key Fund supported the purchase of cinema equipment and front of house PA system.

Ann forged an innovative partnership with National Theatre Live, and hosts dementia friendly and relaxed cinema screenings, as well as major events such as the Kendal Mountain Film Festival.

Growing up near Settle, Josie graduated from St Andrew’s University in Medieval Studies. She applied for lots of jobs, in different places but struggled.

A lot of her friends stayed in academia because it’s ‘just so overwhelming when you have no work experience.’ “I started doing a bit of volunteering at Victoria Hall. I went straight from school to university so I didn’t have much life experience.” – Josie.

After a year of volunteering, the old administrator left, leaving the position open. Josie applied, and got it.

The Dales is suffering from a youth exodus, but Victoria Hall offered a vibrant job in the Arts.
“You need a variety of ages to keep these communities alive, not just the people who can afford the houses, which tends to be the older age group.” – Josie

Now, she has taken on more responsibilities, including finance and marketing. Josie enjoys the supportive environment it offers to the community.

Josie - Settle Victoria Hall

“It makes a difference to people, gives them a reason to come out, and gives them a reason to interact. People are at risk of isolation in rural areas.” – Josie

SVH Ann 1-min
SVH Ann Exterior 3-min
SVH Josie 16-min