Considering Hallmark Accreditation?

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Would you like to join us for a virtual meeting to discuss the Hallmark Accreditation Scheme? Why not take a break from your chores and join us on Friday 5th June at 10:30am for a discussion about the scheme and how to prepare your village hall management committee for the successful completion of Hallmark 1!

What’s the scheme about?

Hallmark is a nationally-recognised quality standard for village halls and community buildings. Many of the halls in Cambridgeshire are already operating to a high standard of administration and management, however achieving the Hallmark standard gives trustees an independent assessment of their facility, giving both the management committee and users confidence that the hall is well-run when assessed against nationally-set benchmarks.

The scheme recognises the commitment and enthusiasm trustees bring to running their community facilities and this award sits pride of place on the walls of many village halls around the County.

There are three levels to the Scheme, undertaken in sequence:

Hallmark One checks charitable administration and management;

Hallmark Two checks health and safety, security and licences; and

Hallmark Three checks community involvement, social awareness and forward planning.

Want to find out more?

Book your place for our virtual meeting on Friday 5th June at 10:30am. Simply email Lisa Chambers by clicking the link or call 01353 865048

Re-opening your community building

The Government has laid out its recovery plans in ‘Our Plans to Rebuild’ and these plans are contingent on the “R” rate of CV 19 infection not increasing. The plans may be adjusted or rescinded either nationally or, possibly, in certain parts of the country in the light of any changing situation.

Within the plan Government is aiming for nurseries and Pre-Schools to open from 1st June 2020, providing the infection rate does not increase.

The next step would be that public buildings could open from, at the earliest, the 4th July, however, it is unlikely crowded events for example theatrical productions, wedding receptions or similar events will be permitted until sometime later.

ACRE will issue separate guidance on the wider opening of community buildings and ACRE representatives are currently in consultation with Government on this information. We are expecting further news about how community buildings will re-open to the wider public in the next few weeks.

ACRE has today released guidance on Opening for Pre-Schools as from 1st June 2020, you can download a copy of this document by clicking on the link below:

Virtual networking meetings

We all know how important it is to stay in touch especially at the moment, and while we cannot meet in person at one of our regular Village Hall coffee morning events we decided to move these meetings online. The first two sessions received really nice feedback so we will continue to provide these meetings as long as trustees wish to attend.

While the discussions so far have been informal we have been focusing on issues that are concerning trustees at the moment – we have requested subjects for discussion from participants so we can hear your concerns and respond accordingly to offer support during these unprecedented times.

Our next virtual coffee morning event will be taking place on Wednesday 17th June at 10:30am, if you would like to book a place for this zoom meeting please email or phone Lisa Chambers on the details below:

Call 01353 865048 or email

If you are not able to join a session during the day and would be interested in an evening session please get in touch as this is something we would be happy to arrange.

Looking forward to seeing you at the next virtual coffee morning!

Zoom meetings the new normal?

In the last few weeks we have found ourselves quickly adapting to a new way of living during lock down. Some of us are lucky and we can easily work from home and this has seen us use video conferencing much more to keep in touch with work colleagues, family and our volunteering commitments.

Our recent survey of village hall trustees informed us that many of you are using video conferencing to keep in touch, hold meeting and importantly take vital decisions for your charity at this time. With this in mind we wanted to share with you our short fact sheet on using Zoom, this can be downloaded by clicking on the button/link below. So if you haven’t yet tried this as a way to hold committee meetings you may like to give it a go!

If you haven’t yet had chance to complete our short survey on the impact of COVID-19 lockdown we would be very grateful if you could follow the link and take part, the information we can gain from the survey will enable us to continue to support the community building network during this time and ensure you are represented both locally and nationally.

Click the link to take part in the survey

If there is any support or guidance we can offer you at this time please contact us by emailing or phone 01353 865048

ACRE national survey date extended

The national community building survey being undertaken by ACRE, was originally due to close on the 31st March but this date has now been extended to Thursday 30th April 2020, it’s so important that as many venues as possible take part.

A massive thank you to the 64 community buildings in Cambridgeshire who have already taken part!  However, there are around 300 community buildings in our county and it would be brilliant if we could encourage as many as possible to take part. Your views are valued and will allow us to continue to represent the network both locally and nationally.
ACRE wants to encourage all kinds of community buildings that provide facilities for their communities to take part. Not just traditional village halls but community centres, sports pavilions, church halls, churches providing community use, community centres, WI halls and community pubs providing meeting rooms.  So please share this information with any other local facilities you are aware of in your area.

What do you need to do to take part?

Simply click the links below and help ACRE help you. – Survey instructions it is advisable to read these before starting the process. – Copy of the questions to view ahead of completing the survey you may like to discuss this with your committee members

Please allow around an hour to complete the survey – This is the link to complete the survey on-line. – ACRE website with further information if required.

Please remember to share this message with any community facility in your area so we can get the as many responses as possible.

If you have any questions please contact Lisa Chambers via email or phone 01353 865048

Charity Commission issue advice on facing financial difficulties

Today the Charity Commission released some useful guidance for trustees on managing Charity finances in light of the current national situation. The article goes on to explain what steps should be taken if your charity cannot continue to operate because of the financial problems caused by COVID-19.

Please click the link to see the full guidance – Managing your financial difficulties

If you require further support and guidance from Cambridgeshire ACRE at this time please contact us on or call 01353 865048

New £5m fund launched by Cambridgeshire County Council

A new £5m fund aimed at creating opportunities and improving lives and skills across Cambridgeshire has been launched by Cambridgeshire County Council.

The Communities Capital Fund will support projects that will make positive changes in the community, bringing people together and meeting the priorities that matter most to local people.

The County Council welcome applications that will support community led projects which improve the health, wellbeing, social and economic opportunities and outcomes in our communities.

What the fund can be used for

Projects will need to show how they will:

  • bring people together and involved them in the design and implementation
  • improve local places and spaces that are important to communities
  • help to address local priorities, e.g. increasing skills, reducing loneliness, improving physical and mental health
  • improve access to new or existing services or activities, e.g. sports, leisure, education
  • demonstrate match funding – this includes in kind contributions, land transfer etc
  • minimise any potential impact on carbon emissions

Who can apply

The fund is open to any voluntary, community organisation or social enterprise alongside public bodies such as district, parish and town councils, schools or any other organisation that can demonstrate how their project will benefit Cambridgeshire residents.

How much you can apply for

Up to £500,000 of capital funding can be applied for to contribute towards the cost of your project. There is no lower limit, but we would expect capital projects to be at least £10,000. Applications can relate to buildings, land, vehicles, equipment or any other capital related item.

How to apply

Applications are subject to a two stage application process. We invite applicants to submit an expression of interest via their county councillor or community champion. Successful applicants will then be invited to submit a full application form.

Community champions

  • Cambridge City – Cllr Claire Richards
  • East Cambridgeshire – Cllr Lis Every
  • Fenland – Cllr Jan French
  • Huntingdonshire – Cllr Adela Costello
  • South Cambridgeshire – Your local county councillor

Please email the community champion for your area or your county councillor if you have any queries. Contact details for community champions and county councillors can be found on our Cambridgeshire CMIS website.