Supporting community-run assets
How we can help
Community-run assets and owned assets like village halls, pubs and shops are at the heart of rural community life. They provide a vital hub for health and social activities, education and vital rural services to take place. Therefore, we feel it is of paramount importance to help these assets thrive.
Cambridgeshire ACRE provides advice and support to the existing trustees of these community-run assets. Similarly, we also assist individuals or groups considering how they might sustain or improve community ownership in their own communities.
Community buildings advice
We support management committees of community buildings by providing practical help and up-to-date guidance on all aspects of their role.
Cambridgeshire ACRE has a wide range of templates, such as model hire agreements and governing documents, together with over 40 information sheets on topics such as health and safety, storage, licensing, accessibility, VAT and employment law. The majority of these documents are available to members at no additional charge from our online Members’ Network. All members are provided with access to this area.
We also run training courses, hold several networking events a year (with presentations on topical issues and opportunities to liaise with fellow members across the county) and share up-to-date information and guidance in our regular newsletter.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have provided in-depth support to committees on coping with lockdown and reopening their facilities.
Our service is backed-up by a wide support network, including our umbrella organisation, ACRE (Action for Communities in Rural England) and nearly 40 village hall advisors across England. If we don’t know the answer to your question, we are always able to find someone else who does.
Online members' network
Imagine a place where you can tap into the experiences of hundreds of people and use them to support your own community activities. Our online members’ network aims to connect the members of Cambridgeshire ACRE so they can do exactly this.
It provides a safe space to give and receive peer support and to find tools and resources (like our Information Sheets) to help you deliver your community projects and activities, particularly around running community buildings.
All new members are invited to join the network and encouraged to log on frequently to see what’s happening and to read and take part in the conversations that members are having.
If you are a member and have forgotten how to log in, please get in touch and we can give you a quick demo.
We support community buildings to achieve the Hallmark quality standard.
The Hallmark Scheme is a quality standard launched by ACRE in 2007 to give village halls a framework to help them assess how to improve the management of their buildings. It also offers recognition to those doing a great job.
It is carried out by trained peer visitors or by our buildings advisor using a checklist to identify areas that are run well and areas that need improvement.
We work with village hall management committees to help them understand current legislation around safeguarding.
Our aim is to increase awareness of the importance of safeguarding and making sure that village halls and other community buildings are welcoming and safe places for all who use them.
Read our Safeguarding case study to see more about our latest work.
Charitable incorporated organisation transfer
If your unincorporated charitable trust is considering the benefits of incorporation, Cambridgeshire ACRE can assist.
The process can be costly and its complexity off-putting, however we offer advice on whether incorporation is right for your community building and, if it is, can offer low-cost support with the process. This includes the setting up your new Charitable Incorporated Organisation and transferring the assets of your existing charity to the new one.
Feasibility studies and new building design
We support communities looking to undertake feasibility studies concerning their existing facilities or when considering a new build.
Cambridgeshire ACRE can undertake a community consultation to help you understand what your community want and can call upon our architect associates to provide ideas on what’s possible in your space.
Additionally, when it comes to major refurbishment or building a new hall, external grant funding is almost always required. We can assist with locating and applying for funding for building projects.
Playing fields and play areas
Parks and green spaces are proven to help people stay physically and mentally well. As a result, they are an important tool to drive social cohesion, combat loneliness and build community spirit. Cambridgeshire ACRE can assist in answering queries regarding the running of community green spaces, playing fields and play areas.