Little Downham Village Hall presents…



Little Downham Players are very happy to come to your village hall and deliver a ‘murder mystery evening’ event for your community to help raise funds for your hall.

At the moment Little Downham Players have a choice of two different events, ‘who murdered the director’ and ‘who murder the vicar’ there is a potential of 2 more new events in the pipe line.

If you would like more information please contact Graham Hayter-Smith


Playground Safety

This article has been kindly provided by Ed Huston from Insure Your Village Hall, if you would like to contact Ed for further information please see the bottom of the article.


Every year many children are injured as a result of playground accidents. In many cases these accidents could have been avoided if the play area had been correctly maintained.

The obligation regarding duty of care is significantly increased whenever children are concerned.

Statistics have highlighted an alarming increase in the number of injuries to children in play areas, especially head injuries. It is therefore essential that the committee ensure that children are provided with as safe an environment as possible.

  • The siting of a play area should take into consideration:
    • Proximity to roads – safe crossings
    • Any potential water hazards for risks of drowning, health and pollution
    • Electricity pylons and substations for mechanical, electrical and electromagnetic hazards
  • Seek expert advice before installing any equipment and take careful note of the British Standards that apply regarding safety.
  • Impact absorbing surfaces are strongly recommended in order to minimise the likelihood of serious injury.
  • It is important that the playground equipment is inspected annually by a professionally qualified and independent person. If you need advice on this aspect we suggest you contact the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) or the Register of Play Inspectors International (RPII).
  • Arrange weekly inspections by a responsible adult and formally record findings. Check that all equipment and surrounding areas for litter, glass etc. and clear immediately.
  • If any equipment is found to be damaged or in a dangerous state ensure that it is taken out of use or repaired immediately.
  • Slides need to be placed facing away from the sun as chutes become extremely hot and can cause burns.
  • Erect signs stating that no dogs are allowed in the play area.
  • Enclose the play area with fencing and a gate which are designed to avoided trapping or impailing.
  • Supply waste bins and empty them regularly.
  • In the event of an injury, maintain a written report in your Accident Book and report the matter to your insurer immediately.
  • Siting and condition of trees and bushes should avoid the danger posed by climbing, eating poisonous berries or tripping over exposed roots.

For more detailed advice, visit the RoSPA website at

For guidance on all insurance matters contact – Insure Your Village Hall on 0330 123 5990 or visit us at

Insure Your Village Hall, 18A Drake Crescent, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN14 0XH.



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.


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.”