People take on the role of village hall trustee for all sorts of reasons. Some get involved as a result of attending a regular activity at the hall; some have just retired and want to give something back to their community; and some get involved when a hall is threatened with closure and they feel they should step forward to keep it going.
Whatever their reason for getting involved, there are simply thousands of village hall and community building charity trustees across the Country who are unsung heroes in our communities.
On average, village hall trustees give between 5 and 10 hours unpaid time a week to their role. This could be attending committee meetings, doing paperwork, meeting potential hirers (as well as the regular users), or getting stuck into practical maintenance to ensure their hall is clean and tidy.
We asked some trustees in Cambridgeshire why they give up their free time to be involved in their hall and this is what they said:
“Its good to be able to use your skills to make a difference to the community”.
“Providing an excellent facility and getting positive feedback fills me with pride”.
“I like being part of daily life in the village”.
“Our hall was in danger of closing unless someone took on the role, and we didn’t want that to happen”.
Being a village hall trustees gives you an opportunity to make a real difference to your village and the wider community. We asked our local trustees what they felt their greatest achievement was while volunteering in their role:
“We have completely refurbished our hall bringing it up to date with modern standards”.
“Being told by an elderly member of the community what a difference we have made to her life”.
“We have changed the culture of the organisation and have also increased the involvement of the villagers and local groups”
Changing the culture of an organisation benefits the whole community but it is those smaller acts that sometimes have a more powerful impact because they make a tangible difference to an individual’s life. This could be making them feel less isolated, bringing a service closer to their door or simply providing a welcoming place that people can meet their friends.
One of the biggest challenges faced by village halls and community buildings management committees is finding new trustees. How do you encourage people to get involved, give up their free time and sometimes work very unsociable hours? As bleak as that sounds, trustees tell us that the personal rewards from being involved are much greater than the challenges faced.
We asked our trustees what advice they would offer to new trustees or those thinking about taking on the role, and they said:
“Be realistic in your expectations and don’t lose sight of the bigger picture”.
“It’s a good way to be involved in your local community”.
“Be prepared to get your hands dirty, the role is diverse and it’s not just about sitting in meetings”.
“Make sure you utilise the networking opportunities with other village halls and community buildings, you can learn a lot from other trustees”.
“Make sure you have a good induction into the role, so you fully understand what the Charity is all about and what is expected of you”.
Village halls and community buildings are loved by our communities and we all want to see them remain open and available to us. After all, where would we go with our children for the toddler groups, birthday parties, sports activities, and Christmas events if the village hall did not exist? But more than that, our halls provide something for all ages from fitness classes, entertainment shows, bowls clubs and arts groups. I am sure you can think of examples of things that go on in your local village hall to add to this list.
As hirers of these halls we probably all need to remember to say ‘thank you’ more often to those who make sure our fantastic network of community buildings is as vibrant today as it was 100 years ago!
If you are interested in becoming a trustee why not visit your local village hall or community building and ask how you could get involved or contact us on the details below and we will see if there are any opportunities locally to you.
For more information please contact Lisa Chambers by clicking the link or calling 01353 865048