Issued 04 April 2017
Volunteers from across the county have met with ACTion with Communities in Cumbria to discuss how village halls and other community buildings can be more resilient.
ACT champions community and rural issues, and sees community buildings as a critical part of vibrant, sustainable rural life. Funding from the Prince’s Countryside Fund is supporting ACT to develop a toolkit to help community buildings manage risks and be more resilient.
Thirteen village hall volunteers from seven community buildings have agreed to help ACT explore this issue and came together for the first time this month. A lively discussion and review of existing resources has been the first step towards creating the new toolkit. The group looked at these materials and also discussed how and where they access good practice from others.
ACT is tremendously grateful for the thoughtful input of representatives from Eamont Bridge Village Hall, Gamblesby Community Centre, Holme Parish Hall, Kirkby Thore Memorial Hall, Natland and Oxenholme Village Hall, Thursby Parish Hall, and Thwaites Village Hall. Discussion highlighted that for many of those running village halls there is a great deal to lose sleep over – easily identifying (in just ten minutes) more than 50 things they considered ‘risks’. But far from being overwhelmed by this, these volunteers are committed to helping themselves and others to find the best ways to navigate the potential hurdles of running a community building.
ACT’s Lorrainne Smyth said “When considering risks for community buildings, many people think about health and safety and the risks associated with how people could be injured when using the building, however it’s much broader than this. The new toolkit will address the most pressing areas of concern identified including risks around: financial management and sustainability; governance and shared responsibility; and maintenance of the building and its equipment will be targeted.
“We already support many village hall committees in their efforts to make sure their space is safe and welcoming so that communities continue to enjoy using these fantastic resources. Thanks to support from Prince’s Countryside Fund once completed, the toolkit will be freely available to everyone who manages community buildings across the county.”
If you are interested in helping to develop the new resource or giving the draft toolkit a test drive in the next six months, please contact ACT on Tel: 01228 817224 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Village hall volunteers at recent ACT event discussing how to be more resilient
Download the news release as a PDF