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Issued 11 June 2020
This article contains information for village halls and community buildings on possible re-opening; sport and recreation facilities; working with user groups; insurance, and converting ticket refunds and subscriptions into Gift Aid donations. Please also read the previous 2 June Update.
Information surrounding Coronavirus and COVID-19 may change; ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) recommends that everyone should follow the guidance issued by Public Health England and the NHS and keep abreast of the ever-changing situation.
At this point in time we believe halls may be able to open on Monday 6th July, if they are able to do so. There will not be a requirement to open.
ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) has been working with DEFRA and MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government) both to understand and influence the approach and guidance that will be pursued in relation to Community Centres. The following is the best intelligence at this time:
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has issued guidance on the phased opening-up of sport and recreation facilities and activities. This information will be useful for outdoor sports facilities and also applies to personal trainers and coaches, and those involved in "elite" sporting activities (as defined), as well as to the public.
Example from Sussex - Crowborough Community Centre has set up a small Coronavirus task group which meets virtually, every couple of weeks and keeps the rest of the trustees informed. They are working with users who are thinking about starting up activities again, on a strategy for re-opening and have emailed them the following questions, to help inform plans for operating in a way which is workable and safe.
Allied Westminster Insurance Services Ltd tells ACRE that “Insurers are being more flexible than any other time, and as long as halls are not breaking Government Guidance or HSE rules they are being very accommodating. They want to see halls open safely as soon as they can as unoccupied buildings are always higher risk when it comes to material damage”
ACT will keep halls updated with any further information received from insurers.
HMRC has issued guidance to help charities process ticket refunds, collect donations and reclaim Gift Aid for cancelled charity events. If a charity event is cancelled due to COVID-19, HMRC will accept that, where a person due a refund decides to donate this to a charity, the Gift Aid requirements are met provided the individual donor:
The charity must also keep an audit trail, including a copy of the agreement from the donor designating the ticket cost as a donation. This will avoid the need to physically refund the ticket price for the individual to re-donate. This facility is not available for postponed events.
HMRC has provided Charity Tax Group with an update in respect of Gift Aid on donations freely given to charities and CASCs while membership subscriptions have been suspended.
For all our Cumbria village hall contacts, please consider joining the Cumbria Village Halls Network on Facebook, to keep in touch with other halls. This is a closed group for village hall volunteers in Cumbria. Search ‘Cumbria Village Halls Network’ on Facebook and request for join.
Please visit the ACRE website (Action with Communities in Rural England) for further information and please Contact Us at ACT if you have any questions or issues you would like to discuss for your hall.
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