VILLAGE HALLS
                                                                December 2009

This is a Newsletter for members of Village   Circulate to:
Hall Committees. We would be grateful if
Village Hall Secretaries could endeavour to
circulate the Newsletter to their fellow
Committee Members. You may like to use
the circulation “box” provided.

      Topic                                                         Page
      County Council Grant Aid                                        1
      COMMA Fund                                                      1
      Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment                             1
      WREN                                                            2
      Funderfinder – West Oxon Halls                                  2
      Help Available                                                  2
      Awards for All                                                  2
      Village Halls Advisory Group                                    3
      Village Halls Plus Group – Insurance                            3
      Licensing Act 2003 – DCMS Consultation                          3
      National Village Halls Survey                                   4
      ACRE Loan Fund                                                  4
      Water Charges Update                                            4
      Resource Point – Cherwell Halls                                 5
      Risk Assessments                                                5
      Funds available for Village Showcases                           5
      Theatrix Community Arts                                         5
      Annual Evaluation                                               6
      Items for Sale/Wanted                                           6


          1. County Council Grant
          2. Annual Evaluation of ORCC
County Council Grant Aid               TOE - Update on the future of
                                       Trust for Oxfordshire’s
Enclosed are details of Oxfordshire    Environment
County Council (OCC) grant aid for
village halls and community centre     TOE has been distributing landfill
building projects for 2010/11,         tax credits in Oxfordshire since
together with an order form if you     1998, and during that time has
would like an application pack.        made over £5 million available to
                                       around 450 community and
If you do wish to apply, please note   environmental projects across the
that the County Council will expect    county, with a total of around £1.3
you to apply for grant aid from your   million committed to community
Parish Council and your District       buildings. Time moves on and
Council as well as from OCC.           things change, and for a variety of
                                       reasons TOE will no longer be
Grants are allocated once a year,      distributing funds through the
and application forms need to be       Landfill Communities Fund beyond
sent back to ORCC by 12 April          February 2010, and is looking at
2010.                                  winding up completely by the
                                       spring of 2011.

COMMA Fund                             However, TOE would like to
                                       reassure all those organisations to
Defra commissioned ACRE to             which they have already committed
deliver a funding programme for        funds; they will of course be
three years with finances drawn        making the funds available as
from the Aggregates Levy               specified in their offer letter. They
Sustainability Fund. The final round   would also like to stress that
of this delivery programme known       applications will be accepted for the
as COMMA will open for                 February 2010 meeting (deadline
applications on 1 March 2010 and       6th January 2010). However,
focuses on supporting community        funding will only be available for
projects in settlements affected by    projects which already have their
quarrying.                             match funding in place and which
                                       can complete before 31 March
Oxfordshire Rural Community            2011.
Council (ORCC) will be running the
programme in Oxfordshire.              In the future, landfill tax credits will
                                       still be available in Oxfordshire.
It is a limited fund which offers      Community building projects will
funding of between £3,000 and          still be able to access funding
£20,000. Completed application         through the following organisations,
forms need to be sent to ORCC.         depending on their location.

To find out more about the             Please take a look at their websites
COMMA Fund and how to apply for        to find out more about their criteria:
a grant please visit website                        WREN –

Viridor Credits –                        telephone 01865 251946 or email:      to make a
Biffaward –

The Sita Trust –
                                         Help Available
                                         Please contact Lynne at ORCC, if
WREN - Update                            you would like guidance on
                                         applying for grants for any
With immediate effect WREN will          forthcoming projects at your hall.
no longer be accepting applications
for funding to construct new
buildings or extensions to existing      Awards for All
buildings. WREN will still consider
funding applications for internal        As from 2 November 2009, Awards
finishes, fixtures and fittings within   for All have made some changes to
a newly built facility and will          their programme to help make it
continue to fund the refurbishment       simpler to apply!!!
of existing buildings.
                                         •   Firstly, the application materials
If you are unsure whether your               have been amended to make
application is still eligible please         some of the questions and
telephone WREN 01953 717165                  guidance notes clearer.
for advice before completing and
submitting your application.             •   Secondly, they have launched a
Further details can be found on              guide to accepting a conditional
website                      grant offer, to support groups
                                             during the application process.
                                             This should prove useful for
For halls in West Oxfordshire                deciding whether to apply to
Access to Funderfinder                       them in the first place.

A Lend-a-Laptop scheme is                •   The third change, is the
available for voluntary and                  relaxation of the requirement for
community groups in West                     a referee. The application form
Oxfordshire. The laptop contains             will no longer ask for referee
the FunderFinder software which              details to be included.
gives guidance on which charitable
trusts might be sources of funding       For further details visit the website
for particular types of activity or or call
project. The laptop can be               0845 4 10 20 30
borrowed from the Volunteer Link-
Up office in Witney and retained for
one week for a deposit of £100.
The deposit is refunded on the
return of the laptop.

Contact Oxfordshire Community
and Voluntary Action (OCVA)

Village Halls Advisory Group            risk. Additionally, a proportion of
                                        the funding derived from the
The Village Halls Advisory Group is     insurance package is paid straight
part of the ORCC. One of the main       back to ORCC to address rural
objects of the Group is to advise       issues in the County.
the ORCC on its service to village      To discuss the individual
halls and to speak up for village       requirements of your Hall,
halls, where necessary, to other        telephone 0845 4786 383 or email
organisations.                          your current schedule details to
                               for a
The emphasis of the Group is to         no obligation quotation.
look at the practical needs of
village hall committees and at how      ORCC is aware of other companies
ORCC can help.                          that offer a comprehensive
                                        insurance aimed at voluntary
Group membership is formed by           organisations including village
representatives of village hall         halls.
committees who meet about three
times a year, in the evenings, at the   When comparing quotes you will
ORCC’s office at Jericho Farm.          need to compare the types and
                                        level of cover given through each
It would be really good to attract      different policy to make sure that
representatives from halls in the       the cover is comparable and
South and Vale area as presently        adequate for your needs.
these areas are unrepresented.
                                        If you would like further information
If you would like to join this Group    with regard to village hall insurance
please contact Lynne at ORCC for        please contact Lynne at ORCC.
further details.

                                        DCMS Consultation
Village Halls Plus - Insurance
                                        Department for Culture, Media and
The Village Halls Plus Group is         Sport (DCMS) have published a
made up of three established Rural      consultation about proposals to
Community Councils - Suffolk,           amend the Licensing Act 2003.
Lincolnshire and Wiltshire.
                                        The Government proposes to
Each RCC has extensive                  simplify three things:
experience of insuring and
supporting village halls and have       •   the revision of licensing
teamed up with Zurich Insurance to          statements;
take their service nationwide and
help village halls to get the right     •   dealing with the death,
insurance at the right price.               incapacity or insolvency of the
                                            licence holder;
This is a group insurance cover
which gives Village Hall                •   the notification of temporary
Management Committees the                   event notices (TENs) where an
power of bulk buying and shared             event has to be cancelled or the

   venue moved (e.g. heavy rain           average to run their halls and that
   cancels fireworks).                    this volunteer support was the most
                                          significant factor in whether the
The proposal would allow police           halls were able to sustain
and licensing authorities discretion      themselves financially. Only 3% of
to accept a TEN with a minimum of         halls received regular funding from
3 working days. The closing date          their local authority. The remainder
is 9 February.                            generating their income through
                                          hire charges, fundraising and
The link can be found at                  support from the local community    and parish councils.
                                          This survey will prove a very useful
                                          tool when lobbying to improve
The National Village Halls Survey         financing and legislation affecting
2009                                      village halls and similar community
Thank you to all of you who gave
up your time to complete the recent       You can read the full report on our
survey, we had a 35% response             website or
rate in Oxfordshire.                      contact Lynne at ORCC to receive
                                          a copy.
A total of 9,800 halls and
community buildings were
surveyed in England and the use of        ACRE Loan Fund
these buildings has trebled since
1988.                                     The ACRE ‘Rural Community
                                          Building Loan Fund’ is unable to
The key findings celebrate the            take any loan fund applications at
success of volunteers and the             the moment as currently there are
buildings they manage in                  no funds available.
supporting local action and service
delivery.                                 This situation will only change if a
                                          committee repays its loan in full or
These halls represent the largest         a committee decides it will no
network of community owned                longer need a loan and declines
facilities in the country with a total    their offer.
asset value of over £3 billion.
                                          Please contact Lynne at ORCC if
They are a crucial but largely            you require further details.
hidden aspect of community
empowerment, and many have
proved ‘hard to reach’ in efforts to      Water Charges Update
support their sustainability.
Although there are significant            Further to articles in previous
success stories to tell, the future for   village halls newsletters with regard
most is quite fragile.                    to concerns faced by many
The survey responses from 2,355           community organisations of the
(24%) shows that volunteers               phasing in of surface water and
contributed 18.5 hours per week on

drainage charge increases across        For further information contact
the county.                             Pauline McCreadie, Community
                                        Development Officer
ACRE has been supporting the            telephone 01295 221645 or
campaign for concessions for            email: ResourcePoint@cherwell-
community organisations for   
surface water charges and has
been invited to a number of
meetings together with other            Risk Assessments
stakeholders to discuss the issues.
                                        The HSE website includes a range
A clause has been inserted into the     of example risk assessments
Flood and Water Management Bill         including village halls. The
which is making its way through         example risk assessments can be
Parliament. Defra are drafting          accessed by
Guidance to the Water         
Companies in time for the
Committee Stage and they are
consulting a number of
                                        Funds available for Village
stakeholders on its content. As
soon as the legislation is in place a
full external consultation will take
                                        Have you thought about holding a
                                        Village Showcase in your village
                                        hall? A Village Showcase can
                                        provide an opportunity for local
For halls in Cherwell District
                                        people to get to know about all the
                                        community groups and activities
Resource Point is a new free online
                                        going on in the area. It is also an
central facility for voluntary,
                                        opportunity to promote the Village
charitable and community groups,
                                        Hall facilities. The Adding Life to
including village halls, to
                                        Years project, which is being
access unwanted or under-utilised
                                        administered by ORCC, has small
resources provided by
                                        and limited funds available to help
Cherwell businesses and other
                                        in the administering of the Village
Voluntary, charitable, community
                                        For more information contact Emily
groups and village halls will also
                                        Lewis at the ORCC, email:
be able to list items needed by

Groups can also offer surplus items
and advertise a “wish list” of any
items they require and are not
listed already.
Resource Point can be accessed by

Theatrix Community Arts                 Items for Sale/Wanted

Would you like your Village Hall to     If any village hall has any items for
host a magical story told through       sale or wanted items in relation to
hand-made wooden puppets,               their hall, we will be willing to
changing scenery, music and             advertise them in any future edition
sound effects? Theatrix                 of the Village Halls Newsletter for
Community Arts are touring to           FREE. Please send any details to
village halls with wonderful shows      Lynne at ORCC.
for families, 'The Willow Pattern
Plate'. The beautiful and inspiring
show is followed by an                  Season’s Greetings
art workshop where
participants can create their own       Wishing you and your fellow
willow pattern plate.                   committee members an enjoyable
If you are interested and wish to       Christmas and New Year. Thank
find out more please telephone:         you for all your hard work to
01993 834840, email:                    provide and manage your hall for       the benefit of your community.

Annual Evaluation of ORCC’s
Services                                Lynne Newin
                                        Village Halls Adviser
In order to improve its work with       December 2009
rural communities, ORCC regularly
evaluates the services it provides.
As you have used our Village Hall
Support Service in the past year,
please will you use the form
included with this newsletter to give
us your views on our work in this
field. The information you give will
remain confidential and will only be
used by ORCC to review ways of
improving what we do.

The completed evaluation form
should be returned to ORCC
using the FREEPOST address at
the bottom of the form by 12
January 2010.

Thanking you

               ‘Let us know’
If you would like to make a complaint about any of      Large print and
   ORCC’s services, please ask for a copy of our      alternative formats
        Complaints Policy and Procedure.
                                                     available on request.

The ORCC’s Village Halls Service is funded by:

                ORCC’s Village Halls Adviser, Lynne Newin,
           advises and supports village halls throughout the county.
                 01865 883488

                Oxfordshire Rural Community Council
       Registered office: Jericho Farm, Worton, Witney, OX29 4SZ
       T: 01865 883488. F: 01865 883191. W:
     Registered in England as a company limited by guarantee (2461552)
                         and as a charity (900560)


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