Event equipment just waiting to be used in rural Shropshire

Equipment to help people safely hold outdoor summer events, private garden parties or even weddings is just waiting to be used, bosses at an organisation which supports the rural economy in Shropshire said today.

Enterprise South West Shropshire in Bishop’s Castle provides a huge range of business development activities and facilities for the rural community, including hiring out everything you could need for an event, garden party, business function or community event.

Named the Village Outreach programme, the facility is ideal for these pandemic times as there are marquees and gazebos to hire at a very low cost so that people can hold functions outside without worrying about the weather, said Manager Rob McKay.

“Many people don’t know about our Village Outreach equipment hire service,” said Mr Mckay.

“But it has everything you need for an event, whether it’s for your own back garden, business or a community event. It’s also great to see weddings starting to happen again as our equipment has been used for many such celebrations over the years.

“We have marquees, soft play, sound systems, display boards and anything you can imagine! We hire it out at very low cost and it’s just waiting to be used by the people of South West Shropshire. That’s what it’s there for.”

Keith Whiddon uses much of the equipment each year to put on the Michaelmas Fair in Bishop’s Castle.

He said: “Much of the equipment we hire has been purchased by the Village Outreach programme to meet the specific needs of the fair. The large marquee was bought by Outreach so it would fit neatly over the Old Square.

“We hire everything! The marquees, gazebos, tables, chairs, walkie-talkies, hi-vis vests, extension leads, outdoor PA, staging equipment, art boards, loud hailer, stakes and rope barriers. I think we are the biggest single user!”

Mr Whiddon said the Michaelmas Fair also acquired a professional stage system and canopy through an EU grant as a community asset.

“This is now stored at Village Outreach and will be available for hire out to other organisations on a joint income basis.

“We also depend on the services of Village Outreach to deliver, erect, dismantle and return the equipment, which is incredibly important for the success of the Fair.”

Mr Whiddon said that without the Village Outreach equipment there simply would not be a Michaelmas Fair.

He said: “The range of equipment matches our needs perfectly. It is locally based. They understand how to erect kit in the locations we need with their local knowledge. And the price is very fair.

“I suspect the facility is the best kept secret in town! I doubt most people realise the effort and range of equipment used to make our festivals such a success.

“On a personal basis, I find the PAT testing service offered is second to none – very competitive too. All bands and electrical equipment users should know about them!

“We are incredibly lucky to have such a range of equipment and service available on our doorstep!”

Artist Sarah Gillard has also used the Village Outreach programme to hold an exhibition in Bishop’s Castle.

She said: “I was able to hire screens for displaying an exhibition of children’s art and photos of the artwork for the Faerie Trail, which was recently opened.

“It’s a great facility for Bishop’s Castle as it enables people to hire equipment so easily and I’ll definitely use it again for future exhibitions.”