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 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.


Little Thetford Village Hall achieved Hallmark 1


Cambridgeshire ACRE’s Vice Chairman Michael Hellowell attended Little Thetford Village Hall’s celebration event to present the management committee with their well deserved Hallmark 1 certificate.

Over the last 18 months this new committee has worked tirelessly to improve the facilities and update their village hall.

Also attending the event and pictured above is the local MP Lucy Frazer, viewing the improvements achieved by the trustees, who have recently been awarded funding from the National Lottery.

The management committee are now discussing progressing onto Hallmark 2.  You can view this hall and speak to some of the management committee about their journey over the last 18 months since taking over as trustees at our next coffee morning on Friday 21st September at 10am, to book your place please contact Lisa Chambers.

If you are interested in knowing more about Hallmark and how your hall could participate please get in touch by emailing Lisa Chambers.

Hallmark – accreditation scheme for village halls, is your hall ready to take part?


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

Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust extends deadline of programme to 16th July 2018

Thanks to one of our Village Hall Members who has drawn my attention to the following article for the Armed Forces Covenant Fund.


This is a lovely project for communities to get involved in and remember those who gave their lives during wartime.  The programme will give awards to community groups, places of worship, charities, village halls and schools to give them up to 10 silhouettes to support events in their local area.  Please click on the links below to see if this is something your community can take part in.