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.

COVID-19 Support

UPDATE: Latest Information for Community Buildings and Village Halls

On 22nd February the Government announced its 4 stage road map out of lockdown.

Community buildings should remain closed except for specific limited exemptions (for details of these exemptions see GOV.UK). See the latest update from our umbrella organisation ACRE on how the road map will affect Community buildings.

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

GUIDANCE FOR COMMUNITY BUILDINGS - GRANTS

As you may be aware the Government is providing support via local authorities to businesses impacted by national or local restrictions.

Local Restrictions Grants

Local Restrictions Support Grants are open for applications for businesses that have had to close at different times due to changing tiers and restrictions and have a rateable value. Some charities and groups may be eligible to apply. You may be entitled to any or all of the following latest grants which are now available:

  • the Local Restrictions Support Grant from 16 February to 31 March – this scheme closes on 31 May 2021
  • the Buckinghamshire Discretionary Grant top-up payment
  • a closed business lockdown payment

You only need to make a single claim for these separate payments. If your business has already applied for a Local Restrictions Support Grant since 19 December you do not need to reapply. If you have not previously applied, you will need to do so.

Organisations that may qualify for the Local Restrictions Support Grants are listed on the GOV.UK webpage; Community Buildings and Halls are eligible under ‘Other venues subject to restrictions’. For more information, visit Buckinghamshire Council which includes a list of Council contacts if you need further help and information.

Buckinghamshire Additional Restrictions Grant – This grant is now closed. If you need information about your application, please, contact discretionaryfund@buckinghmshire.gov.uk 

A fourth round of Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) is currently available and is open until midnight 30th April 2021, following which the applications window will be closedSome community buildings may be eligible if you have been heavily impacted as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions during February and March 2021 and have not been able to get support through the Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme. Please check the Bucks Council website for eligibility.

Please note that the Local Restrictions Support Grant is a recurring payment. The Additional Restrictions Grant is a one-off payment.

The Restart Grant

These new one-off grants were announced by the Chancellor in the budget on 3 March and will be payable from 1 April 2021. Applications can be made from Monday 29 March and the deadline to apply is the 30 June 2021.

The restart grant is a one-off grant designed to support businesses that support in-person services, of up to £18,000 for hospitality, leisure, personal care, gym and accommodation businesses, which will be more severely impacted by restrictions when they re-open, and up to £6,000 for non-essential retail, which can open at Step 2 of the roadmap.

The table in Annex C of the Restart guidance lists village halls & scout huts, clubs and institutions, pavilions, and cadet huts etc as eligible.  It is only available to businesses on the rating list, so once again church halls and other halls which are not on the Valuation List will not be eligible and will have to apply for the discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant instead.

More information on the grant and how to apply will be available on Bucks Council website from 29 March.

Buckinghamshire Council Community Board Funding

Details 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 – Recovery Fund

Sustainable funding through the COVID-19 MK Recovery Fund to support voluntary, community and cultural sector (VCCS) organisations to recover from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. Funding is available to support costs including loss of generated income, unplanned costs and adapting to new ways of providing support to vulnerable people in the community. Strategic grant funding for the recovery and long-term sustainability of organisations would be considered for up to £25,000. 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.

 

SAFEGUARDING

More information can be found on our safeguarding webpage.

VILLAGE HALLS WEEK 2021

Village Halls Week 2021: 25 January – 29 January 2021 – Celebrating 100 Years Together

Village Halls Week is a national celebration of village halls, their volunteers, and the services they offer in their communities.

This last year has brought difficulty to everyone. We have seen rural communities pull through and support one another in every way they can, both online and in supporting neighbours as safely as possible.

This year, the spotlight for Village Hall Week 2021 was on how village halls have been key in supporting their communities both during the pandemic but also in previous times of struggle. We know that the volunteers who run these buildings have devoted an enormous amount of time and energy so that wherever possible they can continue offering a safe space for community activities when they are needed most. Take a look at our short video highlighting these amazing efforts 👇

Even though the week has ended, you can still get involved by signing ACRE’s Domesday Book, telling ACRE about the activities and events you host and the difference it has made to people in your community.

For more information about the online events that ACRE held over the course of the week on the ACRE webpage.

Listen to our Chief Executive Katie Higginson and Karen Dickson from Chalfont St Peter Community Centre on Bucks Breakfast talking about #VillageHallsWeek and how important community buildings are to local communities by clicking on this link.

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society