Key Facts

Every community no matter how large or small needs a well maintained comfortable multi purpose venue where residents can come together to relax, socialise, play sport, join clubs, participate in civic activities and get to know one another.

Often these village halls, church halls, parish rooms and community buildings are so familiar to residents that they are taken for granted. There use be individual residents varies greatly;

  • for some it will be an rare visit perhaps on polling day or to view an exhibition about council plans for changes to the community
  • for some it will be occasional visits to watch a film, a play or evening of entertainment
  • for some the hall will be integral to the family routine dropping children off to brownies or cubs, attending the weekly coffee morning, keep fit class or hobby group

Halls provide facilities for local authorities, emergency services and the private sector to engage with residents via meetings, exhibitions and surgeries. They are venues for the delivery of private and public services including post offices and libraries. They offer spaces for business activity such as auctions, Slimmers World, Weight Watchers and craft sales.

And they are key focal points for information and the community to come together.

What a lot of people don’t realise is that the majority of Village Halls and Community Buildings are run by volunteers on small budgets and have no paid staff.

Most have a committee of dedicated volunteers who are trustees and who deal on a day to day basis with a complex range of rules and regulations.

If the hall is a charity the trustees/volunteers need to understand:

  • What they can and can’t do within charitable law
  • Understand how charity accounts must be spent and independently examined or audited
  • Who can or can’t act as a trustee
  • The difference between holding trustees and charity trustees
  • How to complete the Annual Online report to the Charity Commissioners
DID YOU KNOW THAT THE NAMES OF TRUSTEES ARE PUBLICLY AVAILABLE VIA THE CHARITY COMMISSION WEBSITE AND THAT THEY MUST DECLARE ANY INTEREST IN ANY OTHER CHARITY?

As the hall is let to a wide range of hirers the volunteers/trustees need to understand:

  • How to set rents
  • How to establish booking systems
  • Letting and hire agreements including the taking of deposits
  • How to manage the relationships between various regular user groups
  • Liability of the venue and liability of the user group
DID YOU KNOW THAT THE VENUE IS LIABLE FOR ANY ACCIDENT OR INJURY ARISING FROM FAULTS WITH THE BUILDING OR ANY EQUIPMENYT PROVIDED BY THE BUILDING?

Generally the hirer is legally liable for any accident of injury arising from the activity, any equipment the bring into the building or due to lack of supervision of an activity

To ensure that the venue complies with laws and regulations the volunteers/trustees need to understand:

  • Health and Safety Matters
  • Food safety matters
  • Insurance matters and managing risk
  • Licensing matters including alcohol, gambling and entertainment
  • Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection
  • Data protection
  • Employment law
  • Contracts with regular suppliers of services (from fire extinguisher servicing to window cleaning)
DID YOU KNOW THAT IF THE VILLAGE HALL EMPLOYS A CLEANER, CARETAKER OR BOOKING SECRETARY IT MUST PROVIDE A PENSION SCHEME?

To ensure that the venue is attractive, clean, warm and has the facilities hirers need the volunteers/trustees need to know about:

  • Maintenance and decorating
  • Cleaning materials and systems (including safe storage of chemicals)
  • Purchasing and replacing supplies
  • Caretaking and cleaning regimes
  • Regular checks on boilers, lighting, fire extinguishers, pat testing and other systems
  • Refuse collection, recycling and safe disposal
  • Internet, computers and broadband
DID YOU KNOW THAT THE VILLAGE HALL MUST PAY FOR A FULL ELECTRICAL AND GAS CHECK SAFETY CERTIFICATE ON A REGULAR BASIS?

To ensure that the venue raises enough money to cover its costs and builds a small reserve for emergencies the volunteers/trustees need to be able to manage:

  • Booking systems
  • Money collection
  • Purchase and payments
  • Accounting systems
  • Payroll (in event of paying cleaners and caretakers)
  • Marketing (including websites)
  • Fund raising methods
DID YOU KNOW THAT IF A VILLAGE HALL IS A CHARITY IT CANNOT PROVIDE THE VENUE FREE OF CHARGE TO ANOTHER CHARITY FOR A FUND RAISING EVENT?

For example no hire charge for a coffee morning raising money for Guide Dogs for the Blind. This is because the village hall is obliged to raise and utilise money only for its own charitable objects as detailed in its constitution.

East Riding Association of Rural Community Buildings is here to help these volunteers/trustees and does so by:

  • Providing a telephone and email advice service
  • Providing training courses for volunteers/trustees
  • Bringing trustees together regularly to share idea, information and experiences
  • Providing regular updates from the charity commission and licencing bodies
  • Lobbying and acting as advocate on behalf of halls

Below are some other key facts about Vital Village Venues in the East Riding

  • There are over 230 village halls, church halls, parish rooms and/or rural community buildings in the 210 settlements in the East Riding
  • Each village hall has between 5 and 9 volunteers/trustees that are responsible for looking after them. THIS EQUATES TO BETWEEN 1,100 – 2,100 VOLUNTEERS WORKING ON YOUR BEHALF
  • The average cost of running a village hall is £13,800 per annum (this figure is based on the actual accounts of 35 member halls)
  • There are over 10,000 village halls in England with a total asset value of more than £3bn
  • On average volunteers donate 18.5 hours per week to their village hall, based on the national living wage  (£8.25) that is worth £152.62 per volunteer per week.  An estimate of the value of this voluntary commitment in the East Riding is 230 halls x 5 volunteers x £152.62 = a whopping £175,513 per week.