If you ask many small charities and groups, the answer to the above question is “not enough people”. If you ask most members of the public, they would probably look at you blankly and ask what a trustee does. Almost nobody volunteers for a charity because of the quality and excitement of their trustee meetings. People get involved because it is a cause, an organisation, a mission they are passionate about; people want to make a difference by doing, campaigning, interacting and not by meeting to check the safeguarding policy is up to date or the annual returns have been posted! Too often trustees are press-ganged into the role, I have lost count of the number of trustees I have met over the years who were dedicated supporters and/or volunteers of a charity and have…
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
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
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
Electrical Safety ● Fire Safety ● Firework Displays ● First
Food Hygiene ● Fun Runs & Walks ● Health & Safety Policies ● Litter
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 next Village Hall Trustees coffee morning event will take place on Wednesday 20th March from 10am till 1pm at Offord Village Hall. The subject for discussion is fire prevention in your village hall and our speaker will be Rob Allport from Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service.
If you would like more information or to book a place at this FREE event please contact Lisa Chambers
I tap to buy my sandwich, I order books by asking Alexa, if
I need cash then I have to raid my kids money boxes!
As more people become more used to paying electronically it
is essential that small charities and community groups are able to collect
money using cards and online. This is where the plethora of funding sites came
in, all are different, all charge different amounts and it is important that
you pick the one that best suits your needs. If, like us, you were signed up to
BT Mydonate then you will have had the email that they are closing it, and you
will need to find an alternative.
I have been inundated with options and adverts since
complaining on Twitter that the closure would affect many small organisations
The closure of @BTGroup#BTMyDonate is a disaster for small organisations. Other platforms cost…
As part of the #VillageHallsWeek celebration Norris and Fisher have supported commemorative coins for geocaching events across the Country during Village Halls Week. More information can be found here, you may already be involved or interested in placing a geocache at your hall, if so please do get in touch and let us know.
Cambridgeshire County Council is running a 50000reasons campaign to encourage people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to help the 50000 older people at risk from loneliness. Christmas can be a difficult time when older people reflect on what they have lost from their life making feelings of loneliness worse.
These 12 simple gestures could make a big difference to a lonely older person this Christmas.
Start with a Hello or a Good morning Or a simple wave as your drive or walk by. It is a great way to start.
Start a conversation with your neighbour – small talk can make a big difference If you have never really spoken with your neighbours the festive season can provide the ideal opportunity to do so. Starting a conversation should not be scary. Everyone has a story and something interesting to say, so try and be open to having a chat. Make eye contact. Smile. Talk about the street, how long they have lived in their house, the neighbours, the weather…. or all four. For some people who are isolated, this might be the only conversation they’ve had in weeks.
Send a Christmas card This Christmas why not make an extra effort and send a Christmas card to an older person living on your street? Be sure to write clearly and it would be extra-special if you make an offer to help or give assistance should then need it, write your phone number in the card. Even if the gesture is not taken up, it is reassuring for somebody who may be experiencing loneliness to know that there is someone there if they are needed. When you drop the card off, you have an opportunity to start a conversation. Mention the offer that is in the card. And try to build upon this.
Mince pie moments This Christmas why not join with a couple of neighbours and share a mince pie moment together? Host a small, informal gathering on a Saturday or Sunday morning and invite your older neighbours to come along? You could put the invitation in their Christmas card…
Should they decide not to attend, call by with a mince pie and tell them they were missed.
Offer to help write Christmas cards for someone and deliver them Help older people who are housebound or living alone by offering to write and deliver their Christmas cards to loved ones and friends.
Making a connection with older neighbours Understandably, there can be many barriers to older people opening their doors to strangers. A good way to reassure them is to get another neighbour to introduce you.
Alternatively, drop a note through their door introducing yourself and telling them you will be calling just to say Hello at a given date/time (always in daylight). Going along with your children or pets can also be reassuring.
One step at a time If you call on a neighbour, make your first call short. Give them the opportunity to see who you are, that you are genuine and show interest in them.
Phone a friend, or go and visit… Take 10 minutes each week to phone a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while. Better still, go and visit them or arrange to meet up for a pint, a coffee or a cup of tea.
Write a letter How many people are there in your life who have made a massive difference to you? It could be a teacher, a parent or an old friend, but it is rare that we get a chance to say thank you. In the hustle and bustle of the modern world writing a letter might seem a bit old fashioned. But whoever is on the receiving end will appreciate the time and extra effort you have taken.
Encourage the kids To say Hello or at least wave when they see an older neighbour. For many of us, our friends tend to be a similar age to us. But that means we are missing out on perspectives and stories that might change our life. Whether you are eight or 86 we all have things in common, and we can all learn and gain from each other. Children often find it easier to start a conversation.
Offer to clear leaves or snow for someone This can help older folk to get out and about to do shopping, see friends and family or go to community activities.