Support and Advice for Village Halls

We all know that Village halls in our local communities do not run themselves: Village halls need dedicated volunteers and by default those volunteers need support and advice to ensure that their Village hall grows and thrives. Support Cambridgeshire is lucky to have Cambridgeshire ACRE as part of its Partnership.

The support, advice, guidance and information provided by Cambridgeshire ACRE ensures that Cambridgeshire village halls are getting the best service possible, all within the constraints of the current Support Cambridgeshire contract.

And to prove the point here’s a list of testimonials:

The Arkenstall Centre in Haddenham has been a centre of village activities for over 40 years: Converted from school buildings into a (then) modern village hall comprising a main auditorium with a permanent stage, two meeting rooms, a kitchen and other ancillary facilities, the Centre has evolved so it still provides essential entertainment and meeting spaces for the local community. The Centre has always had a good relationship with Cambridgeshire ACRE, seeking advice and support on occasions.  However, as time has progressed, the statutory requirements relating to the management of village halls have become more complex, and the needs of the community have changed, so the demands on the expertise of Trustees have become greater and more varied.  This has meant that the guidance and resources which ACRE professionals have been able to offer directly, as well as through the networking and training events which they organise, have become not just ‘nice to have’, but essential to the Centre’s management.

John Shippey (Trustee).

The work of Cambridgeshire ACRE is very important in many aspects, not least by provision of informative and updating communications, which serve as a stimulating reminder to community members and charitable trustees alike of the importance of their community efforts. Cambridgeshire ACRE’s role as co-ordinators results in networking and interaction between different community groups at meetings where a wide variety of ideas and experiences are discussed, shared and developed. Invariably such meetings incorporate specialist advice, case studies and sometimes commercially based expertise on insurances, legal statuses, financing, management expertise to name a few. These opportunities I view as extremely valuable based on the fact that it is easy as a trustee to lose touch with the realities of trustees’ responsibilities because so many of us lead busy working lives, meet quite infrequently and easily become out of touch. The services, information and meetings play a very important role in serving existing trustees, stimulating and updating new trustees as well as providing an opportunity for charitable employees to meet with groups of trustees and other managers to exchange experiences, develop skills and improve their expertise, all of which contribute to better understanding of their roles, enhance their often very low paid employment, but most importantly contribute to the efficiency of the community services that many small groups provide, ultimately to the benefit of the communities they serve.

Roy Swain (Chair for the Board of Trustees).

Little Downham Village Hall has been a member of ACRE for many years now and the Trustees have always found information and support from ACRE invaluable. We have achieved Hallmark 2 now and will be working towards Hallmark 3 early in 2020. ACRE appreciates the diversity of village halls, their usage, management and need to raise funds.  Our hall was originally built as the workhouse in 1779 so is a Grade 11 listed building.  We do not have the luxury of an all singing, dancing hall but we have managed to raise £160.00 towards the refurbishment of parts of the hall, such as a new roof, new kitchen, refurbished the toilets, flooring and new stage extensions, lighting and sound which has greatly enhanced theatre style productions. We seek ACRE’s advice on many matters (employment law, planning, insurances, fire safety and sourcing relevant funding). The networking sessions and visits to other halls have been most helpful for us plus training that is often offered at these sessions has made us take a closer look at all our policies and procedures.

Avril Hayter-Smith (Treasurer and Fundraising Officer).

If you are a Village hall in Cambridgeshire and require help and support (no matter how small or large) then please contact the Support Cambridgeshire Partnership by contacting Lisa Chambers at lisa.chambers@cambsacre.org.uk.

   

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