Coffee & cake at Whittlesford Memorial Hall

Our community buildings coffee morning today, was held at Whittlesford Memorial Hall, a lovely venue with a perfect mix of an historical building with new extensions to meet the changing needs of the community.  Our hosts provided a tour of the venue and a brief history of how the hall came about and how the improvements have taken place over the years.  The original part of the facility dates back 100 years and was built in remembrance of WWI and the local people lost during that time – how lovely to have a memorial hall for future generations of the community to use.

After our tour we refilled our coffee cups and we were treated to cake made by one of the trustees (and what great cake it was!).

Our speaker for the second half of the event was Angela Haylock from Hunts Forum, who gave a very useful Question and Answer session on Child and Adult Safeguarding, this was an opportunity for trustees to ask all those searching questions.

This event is one of a programme of events going on throughout the year, please take a look at our training page for full details.  The events are open to members and non-members, so please get in touch if you are interested in joining one of our future events.

Hallmark celebration at our Coffee Morning

What an excellent day yesterday turned out to be – the sun was shining and it looks as though Spring is truly here!  Our coffee morning event this month took us to Needingworth Village Hall on this gloriously sunny morning.  Needingworth seems to have plenty of community facilities available to residents including some excellent outdoor space around the hall.  The trustees warmly welcomed us with coffee and biscuits, and as usual our meeting started with a short talk by the hosts and a tour of their facility.

This event also enabled us to celebrate the Hallmark 1 accreditation for Mandeville Hall in Kimbolton.  The trustees have worked incredibly hard to ensure all their policies and procedures are truly embedded in their every day running of the hall.  Mandeville Hall achieved 100% pass rate, an exceptional achievement. Our congratulations to the management committee for all their hard work and dedication.  We look forward to them progressing onto Hallmark 2 & 3 in the coming months.

Kirsten Bennett, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire ACRE said: “I would like to congratulate the trustees and volunteers at Mandeville Hall on their recent success with Hallmark 1. This accreditation is confirmation of the hard work and dedication of the management committee and supporters of the village hall. I wish them every success as they progress through the next two levels of the scheme.”

Robert Oliver Chairman of the trustees said: “Our management committee are delighted at achieving the Hallmark 1 accreditation. We believe that the Hallmark scheme helps not only to improve the management of community buildings but also to engender a shared pride amongst the local community in their village hall. We thank Cambridgeshire ACRE for this accreditation which acknowledges all the hard work of our trustees and volunteers over many years. We have already commenced our preparations for the next level and hope to be in a position to apply for Hallmark 2 this summer.”

Close up outside

For more details on Hallmark accreditation please click on the tab above or email us directly.  We can’t wait to be handing more accreditation certificates out to halls in Cambridgeshire!

Health & Hygiene in village halls

Our next coffee morning event will include the discussion topic of health and hygiene in your village hall.  The discussion will be centred around the ACRE information sheet 20 which can be downloaded from the members area of our website.

The information sheet covers everything you need to know about kitchens facilities, food preparation, toilet facilities, water regulations and cleaning procedures.  The information sheet also includes some useful templates for suggested check sheets to ensure set procedures are being followed and example information posters to display in your hall.

With trustees coming together at our coffee mornings this allows us all to share our experiences and ideas – an opportunity to discuss what policies and procedures are currently in place and what changes we may want to make.

If you are interested in attending the event it takes place on the 5th April (10:30-12:30) at Needingworth Village Hall.  Please contact me via email to book a place by following the link Lisa Chambers.

Coffee morning networking event

This morning our networking event took us to Abbotsley Village Hall, in Abbotsley just outside St Neots.  This wonderful old building is being lovingly restored by the trustees.  They have already battled with the cold and damp in the hall, refurbished the kitchen area, replaced floors and installed lovely double glazed windows to match the historic original design.  Hopefully you can see from the photographs what an excellent job they have done and they still have plans for more work.

After our tour of the venue and a refill of our coffee (and homemade biscuits provided by our hosts). There was time for two discussion topics, firstly we looked at Governance and Incorporation (what is a CIO) and then we discussed PAT testing and what are the requirements for a village hall.

These events are a great opportunity for trustees to come together, share their views and experiences.  Trustees have commented how valuable it is to see what other halls have achieved, how they have managed and funded projects.  Trustees have told us they usually leave these events with a list of new ideas to take away and implement in their own halls! If you are interested in coming along to a future event please see the programme of training and networking events below.


Coffee Morning at The Glebe in Sutton


Today we visited Sutton Parish Council and their venue The Glebe, a lovely historic building which has been extensively renovated and offers a lovely venue for the community to meet.  The Parish Clerk – Rosie explained the history of the building in the village.

Our discussion topic centred around a quiz on the role and responsibilities of a trustee, this tested our knowledge on the requirements to carry out our roles effectively.  If you would like a copy of the quiz to use as a learning tool with your own trustee board please drop me a line.

We also discussed which topics we would like to cover for next years programme of coffee mornings, please click on the link below to see the full programme of dates and topics.


I do hope you will be able to join us for one of the future dates.  My thanks goes to all the trustees who have supported this years programme of events.


Fire safety training and networking event

Our networking coffee morning this month took place at Papworth Everard Fire Station.  We were very lucky to have a session on ‘fire safety in your village hall’ delivered by Philip McQuillen and Jill Gibbs Technical Fire Safety and Community Fire Safety Officers.

There is an ACRE information sheet to compliment this training session – No:37 Fire safety in Village Halls, which can be downloaded from the members area of Cambridgeshire ACRE website.

At the event we also celebrated Trustees’ week, recognising all the hard work and dedication of all trustees in and around the county, doing so much for their communities.

Coffee Morning – Somersham Victory Hall

Our networking event this month visited Victory Hall in Somersham.  It is a lovely bright venue with two connecting halls which can become one very large hall by opening the central dividers – apparently, this is one of the longest halls in the county and perfect for the local archery team to practice, although the Trustees tell us the piano has suffered in the process with arrows sometimes missing the target!


The picture above shows the main hall with the new acoustic panels and blackout blinds, this enables trustees to now hold film nights in the hall.  The acoustic panels have made a huge difference to hiring out the venue to all age groups and hirers now comment that they are able to hear speaker presentations and demonstrations much better.

Above are images of the smaller hall and kitchen.  The kitchen has recently been refitted and there is plenty of space to work when catering for an event.

After our tour we refreshed our coffee cups and settled down to hear our speaker this month we were lucky enough to have Andy from the British Red Cross to talk to us about first aid in community buildings.  I think everyone was able to take away practical knowledge from the event which can be implemented in their halls.

Please check out the training and events page for our next event – when we will be focusing on fire safety in our community buildings.