Support with community buildings governance
Discover how Cambridgeshire ACRE can support those running the County’s vital community facilities to deal with complex governance issues.
About the project
Cambridgeshire ACRE’s general advice service to the County’s community buildings is funded by Cambridgeshire County Council through its Support Cambridgeshire grant.
Why is this needed?
Cambridgeshire ACRE has supported the running of community buildings since its establishment in 1924. Governance of community facilities can be extremely complex and at times misunderstood. Our role is to help trustees, volunteers, Parish Councillors and communities understand their ongoing responsibilities and how to find appropriate solutions to any problems that may arise. Support can be delivered over a number of years as those running the facility work through their issues.
An excellent example of how we provide ongoing support over a number of years is the community of Hauxton where the community aspired to build a new community facility. Cambridgeshire ACRE has supported and advised both Hauxton Parish Council and Hauxton Village Hall Charity for the past six years as they firstly explored closing their well-loved old building and then started developing a new building.
Originally built in 1875 as the village school, the building was sold to the Parish Council by Ely Diocese in 1975 for use as a community facility. A lot of residents were sad to see the old building sold off as it had played a major part in the social lives of many older residents.
We advised the Village Hall Charity on the closure and sale of the Charity’s assets. The sale process was extremely complex and difficult, especially because of the hall’s Charity status and change from individual Trustees to the parish council as Sole Corporate Trustee. A public vote was needed to enable the old hall to be sold to raise funds and in 2016, we supported the community through the technicalities of the process and attended the public vote meeting as official adjudicators of the count.
Advice has also been provided by phone, email and in person meeting on a design, build and set up of the new facility that finally opened in Spring 2021.
How can you get involved?
Cambridgeshire ACRE provides the County’s Community Buildings Advice Service. We provide ongoing advice and support to our members that is tailored to their requirements. In some instances, issues can be resolved by a quick phone conversation or email, but others require us to visit your committee for a meeting or deliver some bespoke training.
Networking is an important part of our offer; we regularly bring trustees from across the county together to share their experiences and knowledge with other trustees. We deliver both online and in-person training and peer learning events, so knowledge can be built and shared.
What impact has our work had?
Cambridgeshire ACRE supported Hauxton Parish Council and Village Hall Charity to resolve a very complex situation so they could achieve their desired outcome of a new community facility for residents:
“I have attended many ACRE events over the years and have found them to be extremely useful and well-organised, giving us invaluable information on Village Halls. The most recent one was about village hall security, and about Premises/Alcohol licences and how to make an application. I can thoroughly recommend these sessions to anyone involved in Parish Councils or Village Halls.”
Susan Cook, Hauxton Parish Council
“The Parish Council became Sole Corporate Trustee of the Village Hall Charity 3 years ago, and Cambridgeshire ACRE’s advice in relation to distinguishing the separate roles of Charity Trustee and Parish Council has been invaluable. This is particularly true of the financial governance between the two.”
Hazel Hammond, RFO, Hauxton Parish Council
“I attended some of the ACRE workshops and found them to be extremely useful. As a former Trustee of the Village Hall, I was heavily involved in the difficult process of selling the old hall. I was also well aware of the complexities of getting the new hall built. Cambridgeshire ACRE were an important source of guidance and support in all aspects of the project.”
Roger Cook, former Trustee and Booking Officer for the old Village Hall