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.

COMMUNITY BUILDINGS SERVICE 2022-2023

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:

  • E-bulletins about issues that matter to community buildings and village halls, including the latest funding opportunities
  • Instant notifications on relevant community building opportunities and events
  • Spotlight on “Hot Topics”, for example: “Top tips for trustees and managers of community buildings”
  • All new subscribers receive a “Village Hall Management Healthcheck” document. This checklist highlights the legal requirements and good practice for your village hall, from managing the premises, to managing a charity, staff, volunteers, and finances
  • Quarterly Zoom Meetings: providing light touch advice and information, and an opportunity to meet other community building representatives and share knowledge and experiences
  • Be a member of an exclusive Facebook group: providing an online discussion forum for members to ask each other questions and share ideas 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. Full details of the sheets available can be found on the ACRE Publication Order Form Feb 2022
  • 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 £65 for the year from 1 April 2022 – 31 March 2023.

To find out more and to subscribe, please complete the subscription form or email: frankie@communityimpactbucks.org.uk

Watch the video below to find out more about the Community Buildings Service at Community Impact Bucks and how it helped to support Frieth Village Hall with its heating project.

YouTube video

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 Feb 2022

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

£3m Jubilee fund announced to improve village halls

Details of a new grant scheme to support Community Buildings in England were announced on 28th May 2022.

Timed to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, the government has committed to supporting over 100 rural community buildings with capital improvements. This follows in the footsteps of investments made in village halls as part of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee (1897) and King George V‘s Silver Jubilee (1935).

The Platinum Jubilee Village Hall Improvement Grant Fund will provide grant funding over three years (to 2025) to support capital improvement projects for village halls such as installing Wi-Fi, extending buildings, and modernising facilities.

Full details of the application process and the eligibility criteria for village halls wishing to apply for the fund are yet to be released by the government. In the meantime, ACRE is recommending halls complete a short form to register their interest and be kept informed about developments.

Other funding opportunities

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

Download our Guide to Community Buildings Funding

Find out more on our Funding page and our Local 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 July  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

Local Voluntary Sector Networks – If you would like to the opportunity to network with other organisations in Bucks, Community Impact Bucks is hosting a series of online forums for Bucks-based charities, voluntary and community groups, and social enterprises to share information and collaborate on the local issues that matter most. These free forums – Local Voluntary Sector Networks – provide an informal space where not-for-profit organisations can discuss local needs and explore opportunities for change in local communities. Find out more on our Local Voluntary Sector Network webpage.

Training – For training opportunities please visit our events page.

Important Covid-19 guidance for community halls and centres

Guidance from ACRE

ACRE has released updated guidance for community buildings in this phase of the pandemic:

COVID 19 Briefing – 22nd February 2022

Word versions of the appendices can be downloaded below:

You might also like to consult the Government’s guidance on improving ventilation – click here.

Living with covid-19 – Government guidance from 24 February

The general Government guidance on staying safe and helping to prevent the spread of covid-19 is here.  There is more detail in this document published on 21 February.

The home page for all the Government guidance and information on the pandemic is below
Visit > https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

General guidance for charities

The Charity Commission has a page for guidance on charity meetings, financial issues and other topics.
More information > Charity Commission covid-19 guidance

How village halls can support refugees

Since the invasion of Ukraine began, many village halls have contacted ACRE interested in supporting refugees. In response, ACRE has prepared a briefing outlining the role that village halls could play in aiding the reception and resettlement of refugees.

The briefing details how England’s 10,000+ rural communities buildings are well placed to help people in times of crisis, and provides some practical pointers for hall committees who would like to support refugees locally.

Download the briefing

If you are currently supporting Ukrainian refugees in the county, or would like to offer your support, find further information on the resources available to you and ways to get involved on our page Community support for Ukrainian refugees in Buckinghamshire

CELEBRATING VILLAGE HALLS WEEK

Celebrating Village Halls Week 

Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes community buildings and village halls joined together to celebrate the first national Village Halls Week in January 2018, to celebrate the vital role they play in sustaining rural communities. Subsequent years have seen further events celebrating the important role that community buildings and village halls play in our community.

The annual week-long celebration, organised by ACRE Network, England’s largest network of rural community support organisations, is to say a collective “thank you” to all volunteers who work tirelessly to keep community buildings and village halls open for the benefit of local residents.

2022 celebrates innovation

In its fifth year, 2022 was the year of innovation.  From the 24th – 30th January, ACRE challenged community buildings and village halls across the UK to make a pledge to do something different and innovate for the future.

A huge thank you to all the village halls in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes who took part in Village Halls Week 2022.

If you haven’t caught all of the ACRE Action with Communities in Rural England blog posts during Village Halls Week, you can check them out on their news page. Read about why ACRE have been asking halls to make pledges, village halls as beacons of hope for a sustainable future, the relationship between halls and music groups, the importance of innovation & more.

All the resources for the week can be found on ACRE website.

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society