During Trustees Week let’s celebrate our Village Hall Trustees

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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

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A time to remember

November Little Downham

Yesterday we held one of our regular trustee networking coffee morning events at Little Downham village hall.  We were greeted with a wonderful sight of thousands of crocheted and knitted poppies decorating the railings at the local church.  The photos above show the ladies busy in the village hall preparing the many strands of poppies and then patiently attaching them to the railings – it is a truly beautiful sight as you drive in and out of the village.

The display is part of the celebrations to mark the 100 years since the end of world war I and the ladies from the Village Hall have made over 4000 small poppies which are on the church railings and a further 41 larger poppies fixed to the arch round the gate remembering the 41 local people killed in the conflict.  These dedicated ladies have also decorated the inside of the church with poppies on the ends of the pews.  What a lovely and creative way to mark this important milestone.

 

 

 

Community Building Mentors – what’s it like to be a Mentor?

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One of our very experienced Community Building Mentors has taken part in a YouTube podcast to talk about his role, along with a trustee from one of the halls he has been supporting.  You can view the podcast below, simply click on the box below.

Dave Gibbs has been supporting several halls in Fenland over the last few months and this has been a real benefit to the trustees, some who are very new to the role.  We are very grateful to Dave for the time he has given to this project and in supporting other village halls in the county.

Do you think this is something you could also do?  Having a ‘bank’ of experienced trustees available to help and support other trustees is a fantastic resource for the network.  As Dave explains in the film being a Community Building Mentor is a flexible scheme built around the volunteers and the trustees using the service.

Your experiences within your own hall could really benefit and help other trustees, sharing knowledge is so beneficial.  If you would like to know more about the scheme or would like to make use of this free service by having a Community Building Mentor support your committee (or an individual trustee) please get in touch with Lisa Chambers who would be happy to discuss the scheme and find you a suitable Mentor to support your requirements.

Could you become a village hall trustee?

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Being a charity trustee is a worthwhile and rewarding experience, it can at times be challenging but it can also offer new opportunities and ways to be involved in your community.

On average trustees give around 5 to 10 hours a week of volunteer time to support their village hall charity.  This time may be in the form of attending meetings or doing some sort of work at the village hall (opening up, maintenance, making phone calls for the committee, taking booking etc).  There are all sorts of tasks you may be involved in depending on the time you have available and the skills you bring to support the charity.

Village Hall trustees from our Cambridgeshire network have been sharing their experiences and here are some examples of why they became trustees and how they feel about the role.

I wanted to help my local village hall. I had been a trustee of a number of other charities previously and had worked in voluntary sector support roles too.  The village hall makes a difference in the local community, and I like being part of the daily life of the village. A great achievement was being told by an elderly member of the community what a difference we have made to her life.” DG – Treasurer

“I started off by providing a maintenance capability to our village hall and over time I became more involved in the overall management, so it was a logical step to become a Trustee.  Also my wife was a Trustee long before I started helping out, so that meant we both had a common interest once I too became a Trustee.  The best bit of volunteering is being able to use your skills to make a difference to the community.” SS – Chairman

“I became a trustee as I felt I could help with the running of the hall and give something back to the community.  A major challenge for all village hall charities is getting other people involved, it’s not for everyone but is very rewarding.” GHS – Booking Secretary and Bursar

If you would like to find out more about being a trustee or share your story of why you became a trustee and why its important to you please get in touch.

Considering where you should start? We can provide information and support to both new and more experienced trustees.  We can also put you in touch with village halls in your area who may well be looking for someone with your skills to help them right now!

Interested? (or maybe you know someone who may be) Just drop us a line at lisa.chambers@cambsacre.org.uk we would love to hear from you.

 

#VillageHallsWeek what will you be doing to celebrate?

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In preparation for Village Halls Week 2019 we have just released the posters and material ready for you to download.  We are hoping this will allow trustees plenty of time to plan and prepare for a week of celebration in January 2019.

The download material can be found here by clicking on the link Village Halls Week

We would love to hear your thoughts on what you have planned, so please get in touch and register your activity with us by contacting Lisa Chambers.

Our launch event for the week will be taking place on Monday 21st January and plans for this are already underway!

During village halls week we will be joining the national activity on social media and we hope to be posting stories and news about your halls during that week, so please do feed through to us any stories and information so we may share this on Facebook and Twitter, of course feel free to share yourself but remember to use #villagehallsweek and #ACREnetwork to feed into the national campaign.

Lets make the 2019 celebration of village halls week even bigger and better than last year!

 

Thinking about January and #villagehallsweek

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Today we may all be melting in the heat of July, but my attentions have been on planning Village Halls Week January 2019!

We are looking for halls willing to take part in this week of celebration, your involvement could be holding a coffee morning or a weekend open day, thanking your volunteers and fellow committee members with a certificate of appreciation, involving your user groups in a celebration of all the things that are special about your hall, or maybe hosting a visit from your local Councillor or MP.  There are all sorts of ways of celebrating and we would like to hear from you with your ideas and if you would like to get involved.

Why not have a look at last years page on the website to see what happened in January this year, there is also a report to evaluate the week of events.  We will be adding download material to the 2019 page over the next few months and we will continue to update you on planned events and any key contacts.

Please get in touch if you would like more information or to be included in our planned calendar of events.  Look forward to hearing from you.

Any questions please contact Lisa Chambers by clicking on the link.