About Lisa Chambers

Community Facilities Development Officer at Cambridgeshire ACRE

Village Hall Trustees your views matter

Cambridgeshire County Council part-fund Cambridgeshire ACRE’s village halls and community buildings advice service through the Support Cambridgeshire contract.

As such, it is essential for us to demonstrate that our work is helping to support community building management committees, and that this service continues to underpin the improvement and sustainability of village halls and other community buildings across the county.

We would therefore like to ask you for your views on our service and to also gather information on general issues faced by management committees at this time.  This information will help us to develop our future services based on the community buildings network needs and requirements.

Please spare a few minutes to help us improve what we do and complete our short online survey which you can access by clicking here.

Please aim to complete your return by Friday 28 February 2019.  


Hallmark success for Abbotsley Village Hall

Congratulations to the trustees of Abbotsley Village Hall management committee on achieving Hallmark 1 accreditation.  Hallmark is our nationally recognised quality standard scheme for village halls and community facilities.

The visitors who carried out the accreditation inspection were impressed with the trustee’s commitment and drive to improve the facility. The trustees will also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the building becoming the village hall in November this year. This is clearly a facility that is well loved and supported by the local community. The trustees hope to complete the final phase of the hall refurbishment prior to that date, so 2019 is going to be a very busy year.

Abbotsley village hall is well used by regular weekday users, including  Mums and Tots and exercise classes as well as several monthly groups, such as the WI and ‘Tea and Chat’.

Annie Blair, Chairperson of Cambridgeshire ACRE said: “Congratulations to Abbotsley village hall for achieving the Hallmark 1 accreditation, which demonstrates how well the hall is being run by the trustees.  It is excellent that the hard work that volunteers undertake is recognised by this quality standard that benefits all members of the community and users of the hall.  I wish them well moving on toward the next two levels.”

Steve Scott, Chairman of the trustees, said: “ I am delighted to receive this award, on behalf of the Village Hall Management Committee, which recognises their hard work and commitment, and I would like to thank them for all their continued support ”

The benefits of the Hallmark scheme for village halls includes formal recognition that the community facility has embedded good practice and procedures, giving residents and hirers confidence that their valuable community venue is being well managed and run by the trustees. There are three levels to the Hallmark scheme and it is hoped the trustees of Abbotsley Village Hall will soon go on to achieve the next two levels.

If you are interested to know how your hall can take part in this scheme why not attend our special event taking place on Thursday 7 March from 10am till 12noon.  The event is being held at Somersham Victory Hall. 

We hope this event will provide an opportunity for trustees who have been successful in completing one or all of the Hallmark levels to share their experiences with other trustees who wish to start the Hallmark accreditation process. 

At the coffee morning we will have the opportunity to run through all three levels of Hallmark, to discuss what preparations a management committee needs to consider and review all the documentation to have in place before the visit. 

So far in Cambridgeshire we have 12 halls that have achieved Hallmark 1, 2 halls have achieved Hallmark 2, and 1 hall has achieved the top grade of Hallmark 3.  It would be lovely to see as many halls as possible participating in this scheme and demonstrating best practice across the County.

If you are unable to attend this event but would like to know more about the Hallmark accreditation scheme please get in touch. To book your place at the event or to find out more about this scheme please contact Lisa Chambers by clicking the link or giving her a call on 01353 865048.

Hallmark success for more halls in Cambridgeshire

Little Downham Village Hall trustees collecting their Hallmark 2 certificate from Ann Blair Chairperson of Cambridgeshire ACRE

During our Village Halls Week launch event we celebrated the most recent Hallmark successes. The picture above shows the trustees of Little Downham Village Hall collecting their Hallmark 2 certificate. The lady second from the left in the picture is Mrs Avril Hayter-Smith, City of Ely Town Crier kindly opened the national Village Halls Week launch event for us with a specially written cry.

The trustees of Little Downham Village Hall are now actively working towards Hallmark 3 accreditation, and it won’t be long before that photo appears on this site I am sure!

Buckden Village Hall trustee is presented with Hallmark 1 certificate
Trustees from Offord Village Hall presented with their Hallmark 1 certificate
Witcham Village Hall trustees presented with their Hallmark 1 certificate

Buckden Village Hall, Offord Village Hall and Witcham Village Hall have all achieved Hallmark 1 and as you can see from the photographs above they were all presented with their certificates during our Village Halls Week event. We are hoping all these halls will go on to achieve Hallmark 2 in the coming months.

If you would like to know more about the Hallmark scheme please contact Lisa Chambers or check out the dedicated page on this website. 

#VillageHallsWeek – the role halls play in building young peoples confidence

We recently visited Little Downham Youth Theatre group to talk to the young people and group leaders about how they use their village hall. The group were rehearsing for their pantomime, which I am sure was a brilliant success! If you watch the film you will see the difference it makes having their village hall available for them to meet, rehearse and perform.

The trustees of Little Downham Village Hall have worked incredibly hard over the last few years drawing in around £150,000 for improvements to their historic building. They have recently installed new stage lighting for both the youth and adult theatre groups that meet.

From left to right – Graham Hayter-Smith, Avril Hayter-Smith (City of Ely Town Crier), Jean Gallyer (Chairman of the Little Downham Village Hall Charity) & Ann Blair (Chairperson of Cambridgeshire ACRE)

The very active management committee have also taken part in the ACRE Hallmark accreditation scheme and in the picture above you can see three of the trustees receiving their well deserved Hallmark 2 certificate.

Picking a fundraising site


I tap to buy my sandwich, I order books by asking Alexa, if
I need cash then I have to raid my kids money boxes!

As more people become more used to paying electronically it
is essential that small charities and community groups are able to collect
money using cards and online. This is where the plethora of funding sites came
in, all are different, all charge different amounts and it is important that
you pick the one that best suits your needs. If, like us, you were signed up to
BT Mydonate then you will have had the email that they are closing it, and you
will need to find an alternative.

 ImageCreator – http://www.imagecreator.co.uk/

I have been inundated with options and adverts since
complaining on Twitter that the closure would affect many small organisations

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