During October and November of 2016, Cambridgeshire ACRE carried out a comprehensive survey of community facilities across the County. The survey was sent directly to 200 known community buildings and also promoted on social media to receive wider promotion. At the closing date in December we had received a total of 124 completed surveys, giving us a return rate of 62%.
Listed below are the top 15 key learning points from this years survey:
- The majority of village halls and community buildings in Cambridgeshire are charitable organisations (87%).
- Some confusion exists amongst halls around incorporation and the pros and cons of being an incorporated body.
- There is some lack of clarity around the ownership of land on which halls sit; some 21% aren’t sure who owns the land where their hall is located.
- A self-assessment by halls of their committees’ knowledge, skills and effectiveness reveals that three-quarters believe their committees are well-informed, have good skill levels and are effective building managers.
- The main issues reported as affecting every day running are finding funding to support the facilities; finding volunteers to run activities; and finding trustees to run the hall.
- The topics management committees would most like to see training provided on are: Health and Safety; governance; and applying for funding.
- The preferred times for holding training sessions would be weekdays during the day or evening.
- Nearly three quarters (73%) of halls/buildings are considered to be ‘generally in good repair’.
- Over three quarters of halls have improvements or renovations planned for the coming year, acknowledging that running a village hall or community building involves a constant programme of repairs and maintenance.
- Just over half of halls (54%) make a surplus each year through hiring fees alone. Most have to undertake additional fundraising to stay solvent.
- Most halls believe they are financially viable in the short to medium term (the next 5 years).
- Nearly two thirds of village halls and community buildings (58%) have their main space in use for more than 21 hours per week.
- Cambridgeshire village halls and community buildings are used to deliver a wide range of rural services including Parish Council meetings, polling stations, local information points, and community events. There are also some indications that halls are being used to delivered health and social care services.
- Three quarters of village hall and community building committees are aware of the advice service provided by Cambridgeshire ACRE and are members. Only a very small proportion (13%) are not aware of Cambridgeshire ACRE’s work to support village halls.
- 80% of respondents believe Cambridgeshire ACRE understands the needs of village halls and community buildings.
|Cambridgeshire ACRE’s Community Facilities Development Officer will now take the learning from the survey and use it to influence delivery of the planned work programme to be undertaken over the coming year.
Anyone interested in reading the full results report can download a copy here.