As part of its Support Cambridgeshire contract, Cambridgeshire ACRE wished to explore whether peer mentoring, the provision of advice on village hall matters to trustees by trustees might be feasible. The concept is simple: less experienced trustees receive support and guidance from the more experienced.
A number of village halls have asked for advice on establishing a bar operation to increase income and diversify their portfolio. ACRE dispatched a peer mentor with experience of establishing a bar to provide key support, advice and guidance.
To date, two village halls have received practical guidance through E-Mail, telephone and through a learning and skills exchange, to see how practical a bar operation could or would be.
Advice provided has covered such subjects as directorship, accounting, stock control and the practical limitations of operating a bar given time and space.
Feedback from trustees who have received peer mentoring has been very positive and both halls have been highly appreciative of the support and guidance given. The peer support has increased their confidence and enabled trustees to return to their own halls with a better understanding of how to set up a bar that will contributes to the financial success of their village hall.
One trustee commented: “We found it very useful and it all seems much more straightforward than we had been led to believe. We will be feeding back at our committee meeting next week and will then start setting up our bar.”