Army of village hall advisers head for Yorkshire
by Claire McGine, Head of Communications

The army of advisers who support England’s 10,000 rural village halls are holding their annual training event in York this month.

The two-day event, from April 23-24, brings together village hall advisers from 31 counties from Norfolk to Northumberland to share their knowledge and best practice.

The event is being organised by advisers from Cheshire, Humber & Wolds, Northumberland, Tees Valley and Durham, with the support of ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England).

"Our network of advisers is helping to secure the future of vilage halls by ensuring volunteers have accurate information about the law, training and one-to-one advice and support with business planning."

ACRE is the umbrella body for the 38 charitable organisations across England who make up the Rural Community Action Network.

Village hall advisers are employed by the Network to support the 80,000 dedicated volunteers who give up their time to manage rural community buildings.

This year, the 37 delegates will meet at the Park Inn, York, to learn about the latest developments on issues including community shares, legal structures, music copyright licensing, social media and funding for halls and advisers.

Speakers at the event, which is supported by insurance giant Aon UK Limited, will include representatives from the Charity Commission, the Community Shares Unit, the Heritage Lottery Fund and music licensing organisations PRS for Music and PPL.

The event, now in its 14th year, moves around the country and was last in York in 2001.

ACRE’s Rural Community Buildings Officer Deborah Clarke said ’ Village hall advisers are a vital source of support for volunteers who are often struggling with red-tape, loss of funding and demands of managing a building.

“Our research shows village hall use has trebled over the past 20 years. These buildings play a very important role in rural communities, serving as a social centre, arts centre, sports centre and, in some cases, providing education, health or retail services.

“Our network of advisers is helping to secure the future of vilage halls by ensuring volunteers have accurate information about the law, training and one-to-one advice and support with business planning.

“The training event is a great opportunity for the advisers to get together and share ideas and stay in touch with all the latest developments.”

Aon UK Limited has supported the event since 2000.Ed Huston, Aon’s Client Relationship Manager said: “Aon are proud to continue our long standing support of the village hall advisers’ training event. We fully recognise the vital role that is performed by the village hall advisers and we are delighted to be able to help make it possible for them to come together at this important event.”