ACTion with communities in Cumbria has been working with participants from seven village halls to design a Managing Risks Toolkit for the 300 plus halls across Cumbria.
The project aims to assist village halls to deal with the challenges of extreme weather events and other risks such as loss of income, issues within committees and other situations. It is funded by the Prince’s Countryside Fund and was awarded after Storm Desmond when a number of halls in Carlisle, South Lakeland and Allerdale were flooded.
Lorrainne Smyth the CEO of ACT said “We spoke to over 80 people involved with village halls about what ‘kept them awake at night’ with regards to managing their hall. Money, health and safety, involving others, legal issues and helping all committee members to contribute effectively were some of the issues mentioned. The participants then assisted us to design the toolkit, told us how best to present and tailor the information resources available, to help others to use them when they had a need.”
Pat Fell from Holme Parish Hall said “It was great to work together on a project which will provide so much help to others who run village halls. We shared and learnt a lot from each other along the way too. It’s a lot of work managing a community building so having a resource to help us prioritise risks that is available on ACT’s website 24/7 means we can address things ourselves and then call ACT staff when we need that extra bit of help.”
ACT runs a community building and village hall advice service across the county which offers free initial advice to all callers. In Eden, South Lakeland and Allerdale ACT is then funded by the district council to provide additional support to help keep these vital village facilities sustainable and well managed. The Managing Risks Toolkit can be accessed on the ACT website; www.cumbriaaction.org.uk. ACT will be supporting 50 halls across the county to pilot the toolkit, if your hall committee is interested please contact Dani on 01228 817224
Photo: L – R anticlockwise: Fran Richardson – ACT, Bob Towers – Skelton Toppin Memorial Hall, Pat & Mike Fell – Holme Parish Hall, Peg Eastwood – Thursby Parish Hall, Jane Roe – Oulton Village Hall and Chris Gibson – Thwaites Village Hall
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