Hopefully if you are a trustee or volunteer of a community building in Cambridgeshire you will have heard of Hallmark accreditation? We relaunched the scheme about 18 months ago in the county and several halls have already complete Hallmark 1, with one hall successfully completing all 3 Hallmark levels within the first 6 months of the launch! For anyone who hasn’t heard about this accreditation here is a description of what it is and how it works.
Hallmark is a nationally recognised quality standard for village halls and community buildings. Any village hall or community building in a participating county is eligible to apply for a Hallmark award. Hallmark uses a system of peer visitors to assess performance and provide an external validation of achievement. Each Hallmark Award is valid for a period of 3 years. Hallmark 1 must be achieved before Hallmark 2 can be applied for, and Hallmark 2 has to be achieved before Hallmark 3 can be applied for.
The three levels of Hallmark awards cover the following areas:
Hallmark 1 focuses on the management and administration of the charity.
Hallmark 2 focuses on health, safety, security and licences.
Hallmark 3 requires the hall to be working with the community and its users, including stakeholders; marketing the hall and building its profile in the centre of the community.
The main aims of Hallmark are to:
- establish good practice
- encourage improvement in established customs and procedures
- gain recognition for obtaining good standards in management of the hall
Getting involved in the scheme demonstrates to your community, potential funders and other organisations interested in village halls that you run a well-managed community facility. The scheme also enables trustees to carry out a governance review to ensure their governing document is fit for purpose and that the trustees are acting in accordance with it.
Some insurance companies allow accredited halls to take advantage of discounts offered because Hallmark gives confidence that the hall has met this national standard. The scheme also provides village hall volunteers and trustees with the confidence that they are running their hall in the correct way.
Here are some quotes from halls that have been successful in the Hallmark process:
‘At the Mandeville Hall, Kimbolton we were very pleased to see the re-introduction of the ACRE Hallmark Scheme in 2017. We found the process very rewarding and in the preparations learnt much about areas of our operations that could be improved. Having full documentation of the various processes makes it much easier to induct new trustees and reduces the time frame too. We are now more aware of the need to schedule documentation review to ensure that it remains relevant.
Having completed the process to level 3 I was invited to assist Cambridgeshire ACRE as a Hallmark visitor. I am delighted in some small measure to be able to help other village halls improve the quality of their administration, increase awareness of health and safety and the vital role of marketing can play in increased activity at village halls. There is real satisfaction in seeing trustees of village halls receiving their Hallmark 1 accreditation and in the knowledge that having worked so hard to gain this recognition that they will want to go on to achieve the next level.’ – Chairman Mandeville Hall
‘The Hallmark process was straight forward and has given the committee a sense of achievement and was a great publicity boost’ – Trustee, Little Downham Village Hall
‘It has been worthwhile applying for Hallmark 1 and very beneficial to see what procedural things we have not been doing correctly. We had most of the policies and were applying most procedures, but it has been useful to have the guidance to bring them all together correctly. It gives quite a buzz of satisfaction to achieve the accreditation, a reward for the hard work we all put in.’ – Trustee, Victory Hall, Somersham
If you would like to sign up for Hallmark 1 and begin your accreditation journey please contact Lisa Chambers by clicking the link or giving her a call on 01353 865048