Lancashire Village Halls Grow Together

Eileen Murray (one of our Trustees) gives her feedback after the AGM of the Lancashire Association of Village and Community Halls (LAVCH):

 

I’ll lay my cards on the table - I totally believe  in self-help groups. So it is no real surprise to me that the Lancashire Association of Community Halls (LAVCH)  is a wonderful way to find out so much about how to successfully run a community venue.        

 The Executive Committee are a fabulous group of people with a wealth of knowledge between them and fantastic commitment to their communities. For example, Marcus Hill, the current Chairman first started attending LAVCH meetings twenty five years before his village, Staining, even had a village hall! As he will tell you – it was through LAVCH that he was able to learn everything he needed to know about running a hall and all the grant funding streams, so that when the time was right, the grant was right, they “went for it” and built their fabulous hall.

 

Staining Village Hall

The twice-annual meetings are held at one of the member’s premises so, for a start, we get to see another village hall, have a good look around their venue, learn what they’ve done and how.

Today we were at Hambleton Village Hall, which has just recently completed a refurbishment programme giving it a fabulous new kitchen, new loos, all new lighting and a complete make-over. 

Then there are talks which range across a very wide spectrum of topics such as: marketing your hall, electrical safety, governance, how a successful committee runs, defibrillators, crime prevention, drug awareness, low energy lighting, grant funding streams, energy efficiency and anything else at all that the members suggest.

Hambleton Village Hall

There is always an excellent lunch and then an opportunity for open questions and discussions. At today’s meeting, I was able to ask specifically about experiences of other halls with accepting card payments and also internet banking – not something our current bank can accommodate for a charity (double signatures something they don’t have a solution to) – but I found that others can. I also have useful contacts to talk to now about card payments.

One of the talks today was about grant funding – from the delightful David Weatherill of Barley Village Hall. Their hall needed some serious refurbishment and over the past 15 years they have spent over £300,000, all but £20,000 of which was brought in from grant applications. 15 applications – every single one of them successful! David has a wealth of experience and is happy to share all his knowledge with anyone at any time.

LAVCH also run courses at highly subsidised rates for their members. They apply for grant funding to cover the bulk of the cost of those. These typically cover food hygiene and health & safety but currently also include bespoke governance courses, tailored specifically for any member group that applies for one and delivered by Community Futures.

All of this is available for the extraordinarily modest sum of just £20 per year. 

All of the Executive Committee put in their time and expertise as volunteers.

We have learnt volumes of useful information from being a part of LAVCH and I can't recommend it highly enough to anyone running, or aspiring to run a community venue.

This is just a snapshot of everything that LAVCH can offer. To find out more go and take a look at their website:

http://www.lancsvillagehall.org.uk/

Article written by Eileen Murray – one of the Grimsargh Village Community Association Trustees, 18th October 2014