Top Ten Village Hall FAQs
1. We’re setting up a new village hall committee and need some start up advice – can you help?
As a first step, make sure you get a good mix of skills and experience from your team. If you’re looking for more members, it’s a good idea to involve those who can bring additional knowledge to the table. And try to share different project responsibilities out equally among members.
The Charity Commission’s publications are a good starting point for members and trustees. Call 0845 300 0218 or download them free from: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commission/about/publication-scheme.
ACRE (Action for Communities in Rural England) produces a number of information sheets and model documents, which give detailed information on all aspects of Village Hall management. http://www.acre.org.uk/cms/resources/village-hall-publications.pdf If you would like to order any of these, please contact us on 01789 472610 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
HMRC provide information on eligibility for reduced VAT rates – further information is available at https://www.gov.uk/vat-charities/what-qualifies-for-relief.
Getting the right insurance for your venture is key. Here’s a checklist of items you need to consider [link to doc] and you can find a shortlist of ACRE recommended providers here [link to doc].
2. We want to use our church as a community building – where do we start?
Hereford Diocese (with input from English Heritage) have created a very useful toolkit to help you create a revitalised community space in your church. You can find the full document here: https://cofehereford.contentfiles.net/media/assets/file/Crossing_the_Threshold_-_2014.pdf.
3. How do we carry out a risk assessment?
The Health and Safety Executive have provided a very useful example of how to do this: http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/casestudies/villagehall.htm. Also see their guide on leading H&S at work http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg417.pdf and on maintaining portable electric equipment at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg236.pdf.
4. Help – we’re not sure how many people can use our hall for an event?
Check out this handy helpsheet at http://dorsethalls.net/content/calculating-maximum-numbers-can-safely-occupy-your-hall. And your insurance company may also be helpful.
5. Can you help with financial management and accounting?
The Charities Accountancy Self Help site at http://www.cash-online.org.uk/ [up to date enough?] has lots of information including a jargon buster and its publication, “Community Money Matters”.
6. We want to employ a cleaner – do we need HR advice?
ACRE have produced an information sheet for management committees of village and community halls – No. 22: Managing Employees and Volunteers – contact us to obtain a copy.
WCAVA have a recommendation for HR advice on their website.
7. Our hall is old, cold and needs refurbishing. Where do we begin?
Try conducting your own Energy Efficient audit – take some tips from English Heritage’s Energy Conservation brochure at https://www.historicengland.org.uk/advice/your-home/saving-energy/. And you’ll find suggestions on funding sources at http://www.heritagefundingdirectoryuk.org as well as how to apply for our Rural Initiative Fund [link to page].
8. We’ve been offered free solar PV panels – is this a good idea?
The Energy Saving Trust has a fact sheet explaining how the offer works and key questions to be considered before accepting such an offer http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/renewable-energy/electricity/solar-panels.
9. Are we allowed to run a Bingo Night for fundraising?
You can play Bingo provided you adhere to the relevant conditions for either prize gaming or equal chance gaming. ACRE includes a fact sheet on this in their documents library (see above).
10. We’re thinking about trading to raise income – what are the implications?
This article is worth reading: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2009/nov/03/charities-trading-questions. We recommend you checking with the Charity Commission (see above) for the updated position and it may also be worth considering legal advice.