What a week!

This week has been amazingly busy for us, on Wednesday we held our Village Hall & Community Building Conference.  Over 60 delegates attended along with 14 amazing trade stands for trustees to visit.

Our speakers covered important areas of discussion such as insurance and valuation, becoming a CIO and modern design and re-modelling of village halls.  We also heard about the history of village halls in Cambridgeshire and the long standing support that ACRE has provided in the County since 1924.

The feedback has been amazing from both attendees and stall holders, so that means we had better start planning next years event!

Can I thank everyone who took the time to come along and I am so pleased that so many of you found it useful and worthwhile.

See you next year!



Running an event safely, see the guidance information from the HSE

Running an event safely

The HSE have today issued an e-bulletin from their Event Safety team.

We all know that good planning and organisation is essential for putting on an event so that it is both enjoyable and safe.  See below the links which should be a helpful guide to anyone organising a community event this year.

Guidance for event organisers to help them manage the risks, ensuring the visiting public are not exposed to health and safety risks, is available on the HSE website here.  

The webpages provide a wealth of information on the various health and safety topics organisers will need to consider when conducting their risk assessments, a full list of these topics can be found using this link.

For organisers of events which attract large numbers of visitors, such as festivals and concerts, guidance on managing crowds safety at events is available here.

In addition, The National Counter-terrorism Security Office have also produced specific advice to help mitigate the threat of a terrorist attack in crowded places. Read the advice at this link.

What a week! Village Halls Week celebrations

Last week was amazing, lots of cake, tea and bunting – what could be better!  We celebrated at two events where Hallmark Certificates were presented.  Little Downham Village Hall received Hallmark 1 and Mandeville Hall received Hallmark 2&3 – the first hall in the county to receive Hallmark 3!



Village Halls trustees also celebrated by congratulating and thanking volunteers for all their hard work.  Horningsea Pavilion thanked their long serving Booking Secretary and Coton Village Hall thanked their dedicated caretakers as two examples.


coton village hall caretaker volunteers

Sue Marchant from BBC radio Cambridgeshire covered Village Halls Week in her daily afternoon radio show.  Sue visited halls from around the county and did some lovely interviews with trustees and users of village halls, it was really wonderful to have Sue involved for the whole week.

Sue Marchant talks to Anne Bullman, Chair

There are so many photos we could share from this fabulous week.  Thank you to everyone who took the time to take part in this week long event and we really hope that next year Village Halls Week will be even bigger and better!

Hallmark presentation for Little Downham Village Hall


Success celebrated with Little Downham trustees during Village Halls Week


Congratulations to the trustees of Little Downham Village Hall management committee on achieving Hallmark 1 accreditation. Hallmark is a nationally recognised quality standard scheme for village halls and community facilities.

Cambridgeshire ACRE runs the scheme throughout the County and are pleased to announce the trustees at Little Downham Village Hall have achieved Hallmark 1 accreditation. The visitors who carried out the accreditation inspection were very impressed with the dedication of the trustees and the considerable amount of work they have completed over recent years to ensure their historic hall continues to be well used and loved by their local community. The trustees work hard on a continuous programme of improvement to their Grade II listed village hall, previous uses of the buildings include the local workhouse and school.

The benefits of the Hallmark scheme for village halls includes formal recognition that the community facility has embedded good practice and procedures, giving residents and hirers confidence that their valuable community venue is being well managed and run by the trustees. There are three levels to the Hallmark scheme and it is hoped the trustees of Little Downham Village Hall will soon go on to achieve the next two levels.

Cambridgeshire ACRE took the opportunity to present the certificate during Village Halls Week (22 – 26 January) as this was a chance to celebrate not only the village hall but also the wonderful volunteers who work so hard to keep it open and fit for community use.

Alongside several local events, a national social media campaign is running to raise awareness of all that goes on in community buildings with the hashtag ‘#VillageHallsWeek’ and features on national and local radio. The aim of Village Halls Week is to raise awareness of just how important these buildings are to rural communities.

Kirsten Bennett, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire ACRE said: “I am especially pleased to be able to present Little Downham Village Hall trustees with their Hallmark 1 certificate during Village Halls Week. This week is a great opportunity for us to reflect on and celebrate all the great work that goes on in village halls and community buildings across the county. We would like to congratulate the trustees and volunteers at Little Downham Village Hall on their recent success with Hallmark 1. This accreditation is confirmation of the hard work and dedication of the management committee and supporters of the village hall. I wish them every success as they progress through the next two levels of the scheme.”

Jean Gallyer, Chairman of the trustees, said: “Over the years Little Downham Village Hall had become sad and not quite fit for purpose. Our current committee has to be congratulated in that, due to its hard work and use of its wide range of skills, the building and its facilities have been brought to the excellent standard that has enabled it to gain this prestigious Hallmark Award. We are very proud that Cambridgeshire ACRE has presented this award to us as it recognises the commitment that has gone into restoring this a very old and valuable community resource that will now provide a quality venue well into the 21st century.”

60th Anniversary of Garfield Weston Foundation

In celebration of the 60th anniversary The Garfield Weston Foundation has launched a new one-off fund of £5million to support Capital projects to provide new or improved facilities for local communities across the UK.  The Fund will close for applications on 30th June 2018 but we wish to give charities plenty of notice so they have chance to develop their plans.   All the information of this fund can be found on the anniversary website where there is a specific section on the fund – https://anniversary.garfieldweston.org

The Foundation are keen to receive applications from across the UK and are therefore asking everyone to help spread the news about this exciting opportunity and to give potential applicants as much notice as possible, please share this blog post within your networks.  Or direct people to their website which has a summary of the fund and the Weston Anniversary Fund Application Guidelines.

Key messages about the fund:

  • One-off grants scheme in 2018 to support Capital projects to benefit local communities across the UK.
  • Open to UK registered charities, places of worship and state schools only.
  • Grants range from £30,000-£150,000.
  • Simple online application process.
  • Applications are now open and close on 30th June 2018.
  • You can still apply to the Fund even if your organisation is currently in receipt of a grant from, or has been rejected by, the Garfield Weston Foundation within the past 12 months.
  • One application only accepted to the Weston Anniversary Fund per organisation.
  • If relevant, planning permission must be secured prior to our closing date of the 30th June 2018.
  • Grants must be spent and projects completed by 31st December 2020.