Curtains available to halls

hemmingford-abbots-curtainsDue to Hemingford Abbots Village Hall committee installing new curtains in their building, they now have six sets of curtains available to other halls.  The curtains are a number of years old but still in a fair condition, however they would need cleaning.  The curtains would be available by collection only from Hemingford Abbots Village Hall, High Street, Hemingford Abbots, Huntingdon PE28 9AH.  The trustees are happy for the curtains to go to a new home with perhaps a small donation made towards their village hall. 

Approximate measurements are as follows: 

  • 54inch width used.
  • Top window  3 & 1/2 widths ; 10ft drop  x 2
  • Back doors ; 3 &1/2 widths ;   95ins drop x 2
  • Main doors;  3 & 1/2 widths;   95ins drop x 2 double faced.    

Please contact Sharon Lancaster on 07796 334331 or if you are interested.



Looking for funding?

Revised and updated factsheet published today.

Today we have published a new factsheet giving lots of ideas of places to go when searching for funding.  Well worth a look – the document is full of useful web links to take you directly to the sites to make your applications and read the criteria required.

Hopefully this will help take some of the hard work out of searching around for new pots of money to support your latest projects and improvements.

Simply login to the members area on the Cambridgeshire ACRE website, scroll down and under Section Resources find Funding and click to see the relevant information factsheets.

If you require any further advice or information please just drop us a line.

Is your hall under-insured?

At our October coffee morning event members discussed the question of insurance and what would happen if the worst happened and your facility burnt down.  We heard from a trustee in another county where this actually happened and the experience from the trustees point of view.

On the back of this discussion I exchanged emails with Martyn Ingram of Norris & Fisher (Insurance Brokers) Ltd.  He has written two blog posts which may be of interest to Trustees:

If you are concerned about the level of insurance cover contact your insurance company and see if they offer a valuation service.  Norris and Fisher provide the follow service to their clients:

“We currently offer a valuation service at a cost of £168.00 for existing clients and £300.00 for others (with a rebate of £100.00 if they then take out insurance via Norris & Fisher).  However, from 1st January we are launching a free valuation scheme.  Any existing Village Hall clients can have a free valuation provided they have a Long Term Undertaking with three years left to run (we can renew the undertaking if they have a shorter period remaining). 

Our insurers then guarantee that, in the event of a claim, the clients would not be penalised provided they have gone ahead with the recommended sum insured, even if the valuation were too low.”

There is also an ACRE information sheet which covers the subject of Village Hall insurance cover and this can be downloaded from the members area of the Cambridgeshire ACRE website.



Updated information sheet

ACRE have just issued a revised version of ‘Your Village Hall Management Committee’, well worth a read for any management committee.  Just login to the membership area of the Cambridgeshire ACRE website as usual, then go to section resources, then village halls – and look for ACRE – Your Village Hall Management Committee.

The information sheet covers everything you need to know to effectively run your management committee, for example how to put together an induction pack for new/existing trustees, helpful information for the booking secretary, running committee meetings and sub committee meetings along with lots more information.

Happy reading….

A Question of Trust

This article has been kindly written by Dave Gibbs – trustee at Newton Village Hall about his experiences.

In hiring out our village halls and community centres, we routinely place our trust in complete strangers, giving them hours of unsupervised access to our precious facilities. We hope that they will treat them the way we would; with respect, leaving them tidy and undamaged ready for the next user. Normally, of course, they do. But what happens when things go wrong?

Sadly, there exists a small minority of people who do not share our values. For those whose activities fall outside the acceptable usage clauses of our constitutions and trust deeds, it seems to be the norm to lie blatantly about the proposed activity and take advantage of our trusting nature and, let’s be honest, our need to generate funds. National media have highlighted the “relationship support sessions” in Trumpington which turned out to be a bondage workshop and the recent “private party with music” in Haddenham that was actually a three-day neo-Nazi rally attended by 350 people. The latter, fortunately, was not in the village hall.

Alcohol has the power to transform the most mild-mannered person into the Incredible Hulk, as a visit to any UK town centre on a Friday or Saturday night will testify. This may have been a factor in the recent mindless destruction of West Walton Village Hall, just over the border in Norfolk, when a birthday party resulted in thousands of pounds worth of damage, leading to the temporary closure of the hall.

At Newton Village Hall, we have fallen victim to two bad bookings in the space of fifteen months. In both cases, a cosy family gathering was transformed into a public rave as soon as our backs were turned. As far as we can ascertain, there is no link between the two bookings. We were extremely lucky. Damage was superficial and the most detrimental impact was on our relationship with our neighbours, who were forced to endure hours of noise, anti-social behaviour, threats of violence and a garden full of empty bottles and cans. Police assistance was required to terminate both bookings, but with no serious crimes being committed, response times on a Saturday night are measured in hours, not minutes.

In hindsight, there is something comical about being left with a penniless, phoneless, drunken reveller who was determined to walk home to Bury St Edmunds, via his equally inebriated girlfriend’s home in Huntingdon, (a mere 80 miles in total), but at the time, my patience was tested to the limit!

What can we do? A large damage deposit is an option, but this would need to be at least the level of the excess on our insurance policy to provide us with full protection. A cash payment of this amount would deter honest low-income families from hiring our facilities, the very people we are trying to encourage to make use of the hall. Supervision of bookings is not an option for us. Paying staff would cost more than the value of some bookings whilst our volunteers lead busy lives and would not be able to spare the time. Ultimately, we have been forced to restrict the use of the hall to residents of the village, thereby reducing our potential income at a time when we are struggling to make ends meet. It’s not a watertight guarantee, but it’s the safest solution for us at the present time.

Community Facilities, Development Officer, Lisa Chambers, comments:

“Cambridgeshire ACRE’s advice to all village halls and community buildings is that whenever a management committee hires out any part of their premises, a written agreement should be in place so that both the management committee and the hirer know their rights and responsibilities. The use of a hire agreement, such as the ACRE Model Hiring Agreement, establishes a clear contract between two parties and can be used as evidence should legal action become necessary.

The Model is suitable for both single and block bookings. It is an Agreement between the hall management committee and person or organisation hiring the premises. It contains details of the specific hiring, together with Standard Conditions of Hire. An authorised representative of the management committee and the individual or representative of the hiring organisation will need to sign it. As a legal document, Cambridgeshire ACRE does charge a small fee to members to provide this document, currently £15. Please contact us if you would like to purchase a copy.”


Does your hall have a defibrillator?

We have received the follow message below via national ACRE to raise awareness in village halls of the potential problem with some defibrillators.

We are contacting you because we have been informed that there is an electrical fault with some LIFEPAK CR Plus and LIFEPAK EXPRESS Automatic External Defibrillators (AED). This means that some of them may not deliver an electric shock to the heart to someone who is in cardiac arrest. These devices are available in public places such as schools, supermarkets, community centres and train stations. They are often known as public access defibrillators (PAD) as anyone can use them in an emergency.

We are asking you to contact your network to inform them of this issue and to explain that it is vital that they follow the manufacturer’s instructions by completing and returning the confirmation sheet immediately. The manufacturer, Physio-Control, has already sent a safety alert to people with the LIFEPAK CR Plus AEDs and LIFEPAK EXPRESS AEDs with instructions for action. The fault is due to an internal component (reed switch) that can intermittently become stuck in the closed position. This could fail to deliver a shock to resuscitate a patient.

People should check that the serial number listed in their confirmation sheet matches the serial number on the label located on the back of the device. When the on/off button is pressed and the lid is opened a voice prompt may fail to initiate. If voice prompts are not activated within 5 seconds, people should remove their device, not use it and contact the manufacturer’s customer support to arrange for the reed switch to be replaced. If the voice prompt is initiated within 5 seconds, people with affected defibrillators can still use them but should continue to monitor them in line with their routine check process until contacted by the manufacturer, Physio-Control, to arrange for the reed switch to be replaced.

If they have not established a routine check process, they should refer to section 5 of the Operating Instructions for recommended actions. If people have these defibrillators and not received the manufacturer’s safety alert, they should locate the serial number on the label on the back of the device and call the manufacturer’s customer support to see if their defibrillator is affected.

Customers may also visit the Physio-Control website and enter the serial number here The full Field Safety Notice is also available here and the Medical Device Alert is available here .

Whilst there have been no reported patient incidents, it is important that the manufacturer’s instructions are followed. If people have questions regarding their AEDs, please call Physio-Control customer support on 0808 258 0094. If you have any further questions please do contact me on 020 3080 6640 or on

Best wishes,

Ciara Dunne

Engagement Specialist Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency 151 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9SZ Telephone: 020 3080 6640 Email: Web: Stay connected: