Buckinghamshire Community Buildings

Community buildings and village halls are very often at the heart of rural communities, providing essential services and activities to the local area. As the Rural Community Council for Buckinghamshire and member of Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), we offer a Community Buildings Service providing light touch advice and information to community building management committees. See below for more details.

Important COVID-19 information

ACRE Update: From 16th December

Acre have prepared more detailed information and advice based on the regulations passed by government earlier this week.

Although there are no substantial differences to the note previously provided, we recommend hall management committees refer to the latest resources which can be downloaded here:

Covid-19 Briefing for Village Halls (16 December 2021)

Appendix C – Sample Poster for Halls (16 December 2021)

Appendix E – Sample Special Conditions of Hire (16 December 2021)

The briefing covers the requirement for face coverings and guidance on the ventilation of enclosed spaces as well as some responses to FAQs .

COMMUNITY BUILDINGS SERVICE 2021-2022

Community Impact Bucks is the Rural Community Council for Buckinghamshire. We recognise that a community building or village hall can be the most valuable asset of any community and can provide facilities for social, educational and recreational activities for people of all ages.

At Community Impact Bucks, we provide a subscription service for Management Committees across Buckinghamshire.

Subscriber benefits include:

  • Automatically receiving updates on the latest COVID guidance for community buildings as soon as it is made available by our umbrella organisation Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE)
  • All new subscribers receive a “Village Hall Management Healthcheck” document. This checklist highlights the legal requirements and good practice for your village hall (excluding COVID measures), from managing the premises, to managing a charity, staff, volunteers, and finances
  • Zoom Meetings: providing light touch advice and information, and an opportunity to meet other community building representatives and share knowledge and experiences
  • We offer a ‘light touch’ advice and information service including one to one telephone and email support on a range of issues including: insurance, building work, employment, health and safety, governance, constitutions, and volunteers. We are very lucky to have available the services of a specialist volunteer who can provide up to 4 hours support and advice for more complex issues on a case-by-case basis
  • Free access to 42 National Village Hall information sheets from ACRE (normally £10 each) and model documents. See our website for the full list or we can email it to you
  • Membership of the National Village & Community Halls Network – providing a route for management committees to lobby and influence relevant government policy and legislation
  • A free Rural Community Profile – rich, quantitative data for your area, to help you decide on activities that will help your community building serve the needs of your local community
  • 10% discount on Community Impact Bucks workshops and training courses.

The subscription fee is £60 for the year from 1 April 2021 – 31 March 2022.

To find out more and to subscribe, please complete and return the Community Buildings information & subscription form 2021-22  (Word document download) or email: frankie@communityimpactbucks.org.uk

Specialist resources for Community Buildings

Would you like guidance on how to plan an extension or refurbish your hall? Do you need to review your health and safety procedures? Or are you keen to ensure your committee members know exactly what their roles and responsibilities are?

We provide information sheets and model documents for village halls, community centres, and other community buildings covering these issues.

Information Sheets –  A full list of the available information sheets can be viewed at the link below.

ACRE Publication Order Form Sept 2021

These are free to all Community Building Subscribers by email.  A copy can be requested by emailing frankie@communityimpactbucks.org.uk

Model documents – These documents are produced with expert input from solicitors specialising in charity law.

  • Model hiring agreement
  • Occupational licence (including a version to use with pre-schools)
  • Lease of land and trust deed
  • Transfer of freehold land and trust deed
  • Charitable Incorporated Organisation model constitution for a village hall (with template lease or land transfer document)
  • Articles of Association for a village hall

These are free to all Community Building Subscribers by email. A copy can be requested by emailing frankie@communityimpactbucks.org.uk

Funding

We can help with finding grants and other funding opportunities to enable you to maintain and improve your community hall or centre:

Buckinghamshire Council

Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG): The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG) was announced by the Chancellor on 31 December 2021.  The OHLG is a one-off grant designed to support businesses in the hospitality and leisure sector, with up to £6,000 per premises.

The guidance states that to qualify for the grant you must:

  • be a solvent business
  • be liable to pay business rates
  • have been trading on 30 December 2021
  • have an eligible business rates premises that is within the hospitality or leisure sector (such as a pub, hotel, restaurant, bar, village hall or club)

The deadline to apply is the 28th February 2022.

More information on the grant and how to apply is available on Buckinghamshire Councils website.

Additional Restrictions Grant:

Buckinghamshire council are offering a discretionary grant to a small number of businesses in identified sectors who have been severely economically impacted by the changes in public behaviour during the Omicron surge (Plan B restrictions) period of December 2021.

For more information on eligibility and how to apply please see the Additional Restrictions Grant Booster page.

Community Board Funding

Details on funding and how to apply can be found on the webpage. Before making an application, it is important that you discuss your applications with your Community Board Coordinator to make sure your application would be eligible and that there are sufficient funds available.

Milton Keynes 

Government grants information for community buildings in Milton Keynes can be found on the Milton Keynes Council webpages and here.

Milton Keynes Community Foundation – Strategic Recovery 

Since the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic MK Community Foundation launched an emergency appeal to support the local Voluntary, Community and Cultural sector (VCCS) to respond and support the most vulnerable people in our society especially those adversely effected by the virus. During the emergency phase of the grant programme, the Community Foundation has supported grants to the value of over £1,000,000.

It is now essential that MK Community Foundation provides sustainable funding through the COVID-19 MK Recovery Fund to support the future sustainability of organisations and adapting to new ways of providing services.  See the MK Community Foundation webpage for more information.

A further list of grants for the Milton Keynes area can be found on the Community Action MK webpage.

Find out more on our Funding page and our Current Funding Opportunities page.

SAFEGUARDING

It’s sometimes said that village hall charities don’t have much responsibility for ensuring people using the venue are safe from harm, because that’s up to the organisers of all the different activities that take place in halls.  Obviously, it’s true that hirers have a key role in ensuring (as best they can) the safety and well-being of their participants, but the village hall committee has an important role too.

Guidance documents and information – ACRE, our national partner charity, recently revised their safeguarding guidance booklet and model policy, as part of a project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.  This booklet is part of a library of resources available to community buildings in Buckinghamshire.  Please email us to receive the booklet and see below for details of the other information we have.

Training opportunities and local contacts

  • NSPCC – training and resources for those working with children (i.e. under-18s)
  • Ann Craft Trust – safeguarding adults courses

Reporting concerns – Buckinghamshire organisations should report any concerns about the welfare of a child or adult on 01296 387146 or to the Police if someone is in imminent danger.

Specific links for children and adults are below:

More information can be found on our safeguarding webpage.

Training & Networking for Community Buildings

Facebook Group – We provide an online discussion forum on Facebook for members to ask each other questions and share ideas and experiences.  Email frankie@communityimpactbucks.org.uk if you’d like to join the closed group.

Community Buildings Zoom Sessions – We run regular online events where you can meet and share ideas with other people running community halls and centres.

We will be holding the next Community Buildings Zoom Session in April unless there are any significant change to the current situation. Further information on the next session will follow by email in due course.

These sessions are your opportunity to discuss and share information on everything related to community buildings with other management committees in Bucks 

For future sessions we would like to focus on key topics of interest.  Please can you let us know what topics you would like to see covered at future sessions?  Please email your suggestions to Frankie@communityimpactbucks.org.uk

Training – For training opportunities please visit our events page.

VILLAGE HALLS WEEK 2022

Village Halls Week 2022: 24th – 30th January 2022 –  Innovating for the future

Village Halls Week is a national campaign, to celebrate the brilliant work and importance of village halls to rural communities. It is an opportunity for hall management committees to celebrate their work and get inspiration from others.

It will run from 24th – 30th January, and is led by our umbrella organisation ACRE for the fifth year. This year the campaign will challenge halls to do something different and innovate for the future.

Halls do much to improve life for local residents, often providing the only local space where people gather, combating loneliness, and delivering a wide range of activities and services.  But in these precarious times, community buildings can play a leading role in shaping a better future. During the week, ACRE will be encouraging halls to pledge to do something different – whether that be extending their offer to their community, reducing their impact on the environment or becoming more financially sustainable.

Further information about the week and how you can get involved can be found on our news page.  If you want to join the celebration and register to receive a FREE marketing pack, please email frankie@communityimpactbucks.org.uk to register your interest.

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society