Category Archives: News

Coronavirus, COVID -19 and Village Halls

Friday 3 July

Please find the latest update (issue 2, current at July 4th) of the ACRE Information on the safe opening of halls here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you can download three files – Information, Risk Assessment for halls and Risk Assessment for hirers.

Thursday 2 July

The Government published its latest Guidance on the safe opening of community  buildings on June 30th.  You can find it here. We are expecting ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) to update its Information on the subject very soon.

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.

Monday 8 June

We estimates that about 55 of our members have received the £10,000 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant to help offset  the income lost and any costs likely to be incurred because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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

Friday 15 May Update  RHLGrant

Village halls which are assessed for non-domestic/commercial rates will be eligible for a £10,000 grant to compensate them for the effects of Covid-19. The fact they many halls pay no rates because of Mandatory and Discretionary relief will not effect your eligibility.  A very simple form is available on-line and can be accessed here. Click on Grant Funding and Loans then scroll down to Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant. Then you will be able to click to reveal the short form. You will need your 10 digit Account reference number which you can obtain from your latest Non-Domestic Rate Bill as well as your bank details. So far over 45 halls in our membership have successfully received this grant.  Good luck!

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.

List of Suppliers

You will recall that several months ago, on the suggestion of members, we agreed to compile a directory of useful suppliers covering everything from painting & decorating to building surveyors. We invited all members to make suggestions and so far have details of about 30 different suppliers. To download a PDF version, click here

I am sure most members have their favoured suppliers so, if we haven’t already heard from you, please get in touch with the suppliers name, what they do and their contact details.