During October and November of 2016, Cambridgeshire ACRE carried out a comprehensive survey of community facilities across the County. A link to the survey was sent by email to 200 known community buildings, and the survey was heavily promoted via social media and direct mail.
The survey results provide Cambridgeshire ACRE, and its Support Cambridgeshire partners (Hunts Forum of Voluntary Organisations and Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service), with a unique picture of community facilities across the County and where we can, collectively, better support volunteer management committees going forward. The results demonstrate the vibrancy of community facilities across Cambridgeshire, and show them to be a vital asset for the delivery of community services and as key ‘hubs’ for bringing communities together.
15 key findings included:
- The majority of village halls and community buildings in Cambridgeshire are charitable organisations (87%).
- Some confusion exists among halls around incorporation and the benefits or not of being an incorporated body.
- There is some lack of clarity around the ownership of land on which halls sit; some 21% aren’t sure who owns the land where their hall is located.
- A self-assessment by halls of their committees’ knowledge, skills and effectiveness reveals that three-quarters believe their committees are well-informed, have good skill levels and are effective building managers.
- The main issues reported as affecting every day running are finding funding to support the facilities; finding volunteers to run activities; and finding trustees to run the hall.
- The topics management committees would most like to see training provided on are Health and Safety, governance and applying for funding.
- The preferred times for holding training sessions would be weekdays and during the day or evening.
- Nearly three quarters (73%) of halls or buildings are considered to be ‘generally in good repair’.
- Over three quarters of halls have improvements or renovations planned for the coming year, acknowledging that running a village hall or community building involves a constant programme of repair and maintenance.
- Just over half of halls (54%) make a surplus each year through hiring fees alone. Most have to undertake additional fundraising to stay solvent.
- Most halls believe they are financially viable in the short to medium term (the next 5 years).
- Nearly two thirds of village halls and community buildings (58%) have their main space in use for more than 21 hours per week.
- Cambridgeshire village halls and community buildings are used to deliver a wide range of rural services including Parish Council meetings, polling stations, local information points,
and community events. There are also some indications that halls are being used to deliver health and social care services.
- Three quarters of village hall and community building committees are aware of the advice service provided by Cambridgeshire ACRE and are members. Only a very small proportion (13%) are not aware of Cambridgeshire ACRE’s work to support village halls.
- 80% of respondents believe Cambridgeshire ACRE understands the needs of village hall committees.
You can download the full report here.