Coronavirus, COVID -19 and Village Halls

Wednesday 16 September

On September 15 , Government  published updated Covid Guidelines for Community Facilities which included references to the “rule of 6” and the following day ACRE published a statement in response. There is clearly some confusion over what halls can and can’t do, what mingling and mixing mean, how halls are meant to determine whether there is any “significant likelihood” of groups socialising.  We  eagerly await the latest ACRE information to shine a light on this.

Friday 11 September

The Government published an update of the COVID-19 Guidance relating to community buildings on the 9th September after the “rule of 6” had been announced. Many halls have been waiting for this with anticipation and you will see that provided halls stick to the social distancing, mask wearing rules then they are free to open as long as they abide by the capacity restrictions which will be different for each venue depending on its size and lay-out. We strongly suggest you read these new Guidelines to determine if your hall meets the requirements.

Saturday 22 August

ACRE has just updated (21.08.20) its most recent information sheet so now 5.1 is available. Scroll to the bottom of the page to download the files. Louise Currie of CAN has  produced a short summary of the changes which can be found here.. CAN also provides a useful summary of the situation relating to face coverings:- The Department of Health & Social Care has confirmed the following information about wearing face coverings in village halls: “On entering a village hall, you will be required to wear a face covering, and will be required to keep it on, unless you are covered under a ‘reasonable excuse’. This could be for a gym class, if you need to eat or drink something, or if you have a health or disability reason to not wear one. A reasonable excuse does not cover someone just ‘popping in’ or sitting on the side and watching (for example). Face coverings can be removed if users are undertaking exercise or an activity and it would negatively impact their ability to do so. The guidance on wearing face coverings sets out the circumstances where members of the public do not need to wear a face covering and when they can be removed.”

You can read the full government guidance regarding face coverings via this link


Wednesday 19 August

ACRE has just released its latest Information sheet (VERSION 5 dated 17 August 2020) on the  preparation for the safe opening of village halls. Face coverings feature much more as it is now a government requirement to wear them, in most circumstances, while in a hall. The two appendices  with sample Risk Assesssments can be found here – Appendix F for halls and G for hirers

If you are looking for a fast and free source of professional looking posters you could try this website. You can even customise the text before you download them to make them more relevant to your hall. Don’t forget to change the 1m distance to 2 m!

Thursday 23 July

Please find issue 4 of the latest update (current July 20) of the ACRE information on the safe opening of halls. The changes are concentrated in Appendices D and new ones J & K . They relate to the relaxation of the rules relating to certain activities which are allowed after July 25 and August 1. If you scroll down towards the bottom of the page, please also note the updated versions of examples of the Risk Assessments for both the hall and potential users.

Sunday 21 June

Last week ACRE published information on the re-opening of halls.  The main document with Appendices a-e can be found here and the two Risk Assessment appendices f (sample risk assessment for re-opening halls) & g  (sample risk assessment for hirers) can be found here.

CAN  strongly advise that: ACRE has been working with Village Hall Advisers to prepare this guidance which gives the information that trustees will need to consider, before they decide to open the building.  The guidance is issued with an expectation that the regulations will be amended by 4th July – in readiness for halls opening from 6th July onwards, based on the current 2 metre social distancing requirement.  It is likely that it will be amended again, in order that it reflects new information – so please keep checking for the updates.  Please note that the guidance must be read along with the attachments that come with it and you should apply the information appropriate for your particular hall and circumstances.  I would encourage you to ensure that all the trustees of your hall see the documents and that you discuss and record the matter of re-opening as a full committee.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

By July 14th all our member halls, who are entitled to the government grant and completed the on-line form, have received  the £10,000 RHLG to help offset the income lost and any costs likely to be incurred because of the Covid-19 pandemic. That amounts to £630,000 to 63 members.

We have recently updated the survey of our members’ incomes from the figures published by the Charity Commission. For the bar graph go here.

Licences during close down

Many thanks to Colin Chipp of Felton Village hall for first drawing to our attention the whole issue of licences (music, film etc).

PRS/PPL Music Licence Contacted them on 2 April and they indicated that any period of closure would be taken into account and compensated. See here for the latest update as well as a very useful Frequently Asked Questions section. Tel: 0800 0720 808

MPLC (Motion Picture Licensing Company Ltd)

Spoke to MPLC on 3 April and was told that it would consider extending the duration of the licence period or offer a credit to licence holders.   Community buildings are advised to email them with their account details explaining when they were closed for business.  Email:

Alcohol Licence

For those members with an alcohol licence, we await a reply to our enquiry from the officer responsible at Northumberland County Council

VONNE Funding Directory now accessible to all  To support the voluntary and community sector under these exceptional circumstances, VONNE (Voluntary Organisations Network North East)  has temporarily made its online Funding Directory accessible to all. Usually a benefit restricted to their Silver and Gold Membership+ supporters, the resource contains the details of more than 100 charitable trusts and foundations that are actively funding charities and community groups in the North East region. The directory is regularly reviewed and updated, and is searchable although we suggest that you use it to find details of specific funder which have come to your attention.