Village Hall Improvement Grant Fund

undefined The Autumn 2018 budget announced that, to mark the centenary of the Armistice, the government would support several initiatives, including making available grant funding to support improvement projects for village halls.

The village hall grant funding will be managed by ACRE on behalf of Defra with support from the ACRE Network, of which Cambridgeshire ACRE is a member.

The grant aims to help fund the updating and refurbishment of village halls so that they are fit for purpose and provide activities which seek to achieve one or more of the following outcomes for their communities:

  • Improved health and wellbeing/reduction in loneliness
  • Demonstrates a positive impact on the environment
  • Supports the local rural economy

There will be greater emphasis given to applications who have already secured most of the funding.

How much can be applied for?

The scheme will fund up to 20% of eligible costs, with a minimum grant of £10,000 and a maximum grant of £75,000 payable. This means overall scheme costs would be between £50,000 and £375,000.

Who is Eligible?

Please download the guidelines and eligibility criteria before completing Stage 1 of the application process.

How to Apply:

There is a two-stage application process:

Stage 1 – you need to complete a Project Funding Form and a Stage 1 Application Form.

Stage 2 – you will complete a full application. Once you have completed the stage 1 forms, you will be invited to submit a full application to the 2nd Stage of the application process.

More Information:

Please visit the dedicated ACRE Village Hall Grant Fund web page for more information and to download the guidance documents.

Please contact us here at Cambridgeshire ACRE if you have any queries or would like support with the funding application.

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How would you improve Health Services?

The NHS is developing a local plan and needs your help

How would you make it easier for people to look after their own health and wellbeing in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough?

Fill in this survey from Healthwatch and have your say on local services. In particular, Healthwatch wants to hear your ideas about:

  • Making it easier for people to access support closer to home and via technology.
  • Doing more to help people stay well.
  • Providing better support for people with cancer, mental health conditions, heart and lung diseases, and other long-term conditions.
  • Providing better support for people as they get older and experience conditions such as dementia.

Share your ideas

Your local NHS needs to hear from you about what it should do to make care better for your community.

Feedback online at https://www.healthwatch.co.uk/what-would-you-do

Call your local Healthwatch on 0330 355 1285, text 0752 0635 176

Or visit www.healthwatchcambridgeshire,co.uk or www.healthwatchpeterborough.co.uk

Thanks for the welcome and Health and Safety

Hello and thanks for the welcome to Cambridgeshire! I’m looking forward to working with committees and supporting Lisa with a number of village hall project areas.

For those of you who I’ll have contact with, you’ll soon find out that Health and Safety is one of my favourite topic areas. So with this in mind, Martyn Ingram of Norris & Fisher (Insurance Brokers) Ltd has kindly provided a reminder about managing risk in your hall.


Risk Management & Self Assessment Discounts

One of the most important issues for any Village Hall management committee is to ensure that your hall is safe for use by both hirers and volunteers. In order to encourage and reward good risk management, Ansvar Insurance are now offering discounted premiums for committees who demonstrate that they are carry out Risk Assessments.

Risk assessment is not a difficult process but it does take time. It is sensible, therefore, to spread the load as far as possible and for volunteers to carry out risk assessments in their own specialist area where they best know about any likely hazards. The same requirement to assess risk applies to activities that are held away from your premises. The process should be overseen and co-ordinated by the person who has overall responsibility for health and safety.

You should systematically look at each activity (including use of the buildings) and note all of the hazards and risks and any existing safety measures. You should also note any person who may be specifically at risk. You must then record any additional safety measures or ‘controls’ which will reduce those risks as far as possible. As well as the interior of buildings, you must also look at the grounds and other external areas.

This can be an involved and tedious process but we have written a Risk Management guide in association with insurers which is designed to assist in identifying and minimising the typical risks faced by Village Hall committees. A copy of the guide is available on our website or we would be happy to send a hard copy.

Subjects covered include fire safety, food hygiene, general maintenance and bouncy castles.  There is a section on firework displays and the guide also includes advice on staging events – fun runs, for example.  One question that is often raised is whether your liability is increased if you clear snow and ice – the guide deals with this matter.  The guide also includes a Risk Assessment form which you can copy and complete to meet your obligations.

Amongst the many topics in this guide the following subjects relevant to Village Halls are included:

Accident Reporting ● Bouncy Castles ● Electrical Safety ● Fire Safety ● Firework Displays ● First Aid ● Food Hygiene ● Fun Runs & Walks ● Health & Safety Policies ● Litter Picking ● Parking & Car Parks ● Premises Security ● Sale of Second-Hand Goods ● Snow & Ice ● Working at Height

If you are on top of risk management issues, then it may be worth your while to complete our self-assessment form.  This is intended to offer improved rates and thereby reduced premiums for halls which are well managed.  If this is of interest to you then please get in touch to request a self assessment form or download a copy from our website.

If you have any specific queries regarding insurance, you can address them to Tom Ingram at Norris & Fisher – tom.ingram@norrisandfisher.com 

New member of our team

(left) Lisa Chambers (right) Samantha Smith – Our Community Facilities Development Officers

We have welcomed a new member of staff to our Village Hall and Community Buildings team. Samantha will be working for Cambridgeshire ACRE as Community Facilities Development Officer one day a week on secondment from Community Lincs.

Samantha has been a Community Facilities advisor in Lincolnshire for 11 years, so comes to us with a huge amount of experience and knowledge in supporting village hall committees and play area committees. Samantha enjoys the variety and challenge of her work with its many different aspects such as funding advisor, trainer, governance checker, report writer, mediator and consultant.

Before this Samantha started her career as a secretary working at various companies from London to Manchester.  Samantha lives with her son, two cats and a corn snake, and has recently rediscovered her love of vinyl music, enjoys travelling, volunteering at a local nature reserve and is always looking for the next adventure. 

So if you would like advice and support for your village hall or community building please get in touch with Samantha on samantha.smith@cambsacre,org.uk or telephone 01353 865020.

Campaign to end loneliness

As part of the Campaign to End Loneliness, Cambridgeshire County Council are working with partners to encourage communities across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to host a Big Lunch https://www.edenprojectcommunities.com/stuff-to-do/organise-big-lunch  or a Great Get Together https://www.greatgettogether.org/ in June 2019.

This is part of the #50000reasons campaign that was launched last December to encourage people to reach out to isolated people in their community who may be experiencing loneliness.

The Big Lunch will be taking place on 1-2 June and The Great Get Together will be taking place on 21-23 June. Both these national events provide a great opportunity to bring your neighbours together, including those who might be more isolated, to share food, have fun and get to know each other better. It would be lovely to see as many community events as possible across our area. 

There will be an information session for those who would like to find out more about hosting a Big Lunch or Great Get Together, with tips on ‘how to make it happen’ as well as examples of successful events. The event will be held at on 26th March 2019 from 11:00 to 13:00 at:

The Assembly Room, Huntingdon Town Hall, Market Hill, Huntingdon, PE29 3PJ

If you would like to attend this event, please email Alex Parr on alex.parr@cambridgeshire.gov.uk to confirm your attendance, as places will be reserved on a first come, first serve basis. 

If you’re interested in hosting or supporting a community to host either a Big Lunch or Great Get Together or would like further information, please let Alex know, as we would really like to map all events that take place across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in June to celebrate kindness, respect and all we have in common. 

This message has been posted by The Loneliness Core Group

Village Hall Trustees your views matter

Cambridgeshire County Council part-fund Cambridgeshire ACRE’s village halls and community buildings advice service through the Support Cambridgeshire contract.

As such, it is essential for us to demonstrate that our work is helping to support community building management committees, and that this service continues to underpin the improvement and sustainability of village halls and other community buildings across the county.

We would therefore like to ask you for your views on our service and to also gather information on general issues faced by management committees at this time.  This information will help us to develop our future services based on the community buildings network needs and requirements.

Please spare a few minutes to help us improve what we do and complete our short online survey which you can access by clicking here.

Please aim to complete your return by Friday 28 February 2019.