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Community Buildings

Community Buildings, Village Halls and other assets owned by the community, such as playing fields and other open spaces, are at the very heart of villages and neighbourhoods.  ACT supports the volunteers who manage these facilities through the Community Buildings Service.

ACT's Community Buildings Service offers guidance covering three main areas: Governance; Funding and Project Planning; and People Skills.

ACT's Community Buildings Service provides the following throughout Cumbria:
  • Telephone / Email support from an ACT officer
  • Free ACT guidance sheets and other resources
  • Free national Village Hall Information Sheets (on request only)
  • Free entry on the Community Buildings Directory - check you hall's details are up to date
  • Free half-day Community Buildings workshops, three times a year
  • Free ACT Gazette newsletter with community buildings news, three times a year
  • A voice for issues affecting community buildings and village halls at a national level, via Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE)
  • Bespoke support for individual groups at £40 per hour (membership discounts apply)

Click here for an information sheet detailing support ACT can offer. Additional free support may also be available for some community buildings and village halls if ACT has funding to work in your area, contact us to check whether you’re eligible.

We have a wide range of resources, including Guidance Sheets and Workbooks available online via the Resources and Publications page. Should you need specialist advice we can put you in touch with people with the necessary skills. We can also provide national village hall information sheets, free of charge on request, to halls in Cumbria. 

We can help you think about the needs of your local community and to consider ways in which the assets you already manage: village halls, open spaces, allotments and so on, might be used to meet those needs. For example, some communities in Cumbria have started community cafes or ‘Community Exchanges' using their village hall as a social hub where local people can access a variety of services as well as enjoying meeting one another.

Community Buildings Directory

Our Community Buildings Directory provides information on village halls and community buildings in Cumbria - useful for anyone looking for a venue, and a great opportunity for halls to promote what they have to offer. If your community building’s details are missing, or need to be updated, please complete this form and send it to us at ACT.

Village Halls Guide to Funders 2018

We've updated our 'Village Halls Guide to Funders' with guidance to help you write funding applications, and summary information for many of the grant funds your hall project may be eligible for.

Hallmark Quality Standard for Halls

Hallmark is a nationally recognised award, promoting good management and practice by Community Building Management Committees. Community Buildings with Hallmark can benefit from insurance discounts and gain recognition on funding applications as the award acts as evidence of the high standard of the committee members and the merit of the hall.

There are 3 Hallmark awards covering: 'Charity administration and management'; 'Health, safety, security and licences'; and 'Community & social awareness, communications, forward planning and development'

Case Studies & Video Interviews

Case studies highlighting the experiences of community buildings, their learning, and celebrating their achievements are also available. These include short video interviews with village halls committee members who have been involved in a variety of projects, and an interview with The Big Lottery providing advice for community buildings looking to access funding.

Making the Most of your Hall - Are you Charging Enough?
Guidance to help you look at the income you get from your room hire, and whether this is enough for you to cover your costs. If you aren’t making enough from people hiring your hall, you will be eating into your reserves and you may need to find other sources of funding to keep your hall open.

Managing Risks Toolkit

This toolkit aims to help village hall committees consider the main risks for their hall and to access further information to help manage these risks effectively.

Risks is often a topic which focuses on Health and Safety, or a crisis situation. This toolkit takes a more holistic approach to the range of risks for halls, and categorises these under four key headings of: Law and Governance; People; Money; and Buildings.

Contact us to find out more about ACT's Community Buildings Service and visit the Events page for more information about Community Buildings training and events.

Many thanks to the following organisations for supporting our work with community buildings:



Latest News

Help for Village Halls Managing Risks

1 May 2018

Help for Village Halls Managing Risks

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.

Local charity supports community resilience across Cumbria

12 April 2018

Local charity supports community resilience across Cumbria

ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) is supporting community resilience and emergency planning activities across Cumbria, as part of a 3 year BIG Lottery funded programme. This includes helping people to get together to share their experiences, think about future risks and what they might do to be better prepared.

ACT celebrating 70 years - and appealing for images

5 April 2018

ACT celebrating 70 years - and appealing for images

ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) is 70 in October and using this milestone as an opportunity to celebrate the organisation’s past and also look to the future.

ACT’s Chief Executive Lorrainne Smyth says “We’ve changed our name several times in those 70 years, settling on ACTion with Communities in Cumbria back in 2008, but it is striking how little our aims, priorities and ways of working have changed since the beginning. We still rely on a core group of committed people as our staff and our Trustees and it’s still about making a difference by championing rural issues and working with communities.”

Thank you to everyone involved in Village Halls Week

26 January 2018

Thank you to everyone involved in Village Halls Week

Village Halls around the country have been celebrating the first national Village Halls Week between 22nd and 26th January. Here at ACT we’d like to say a huge thank you for all the work you do in your communities and to share a few of the highlights in Cumbria and around the country.

Cumbria celebrates national Village Halls Week

10 January 2018

Cumbria celebrates national Village Halls Week

ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) is encouraging village halls across the county to get involved in the first ever national #VillageHallsWeek starting Monday 22nd January 2018. This is a week-long celebration to say a collective “thank-you” to all volunteers who work tirelessly to keep community buildings and village halls open for the benefit of their communities.

Celebrating Award Winning Village Halls

13 September 2017

Celebrating Award Winning Village Halls

Volunteers from six Community Buildings around Cumbria were presented with achievement awards by ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) at their recent AGM. Over 50 people attended the event at Sedbergh People’s Hall, celebrating the enormous contribution which Village Hall volunteers make to the communities they serve.