Cornwall Rural Community Council (CRCC) has been working with their national partner ACRE and the other Rural Community Councils across England to develop guidance on the reopening of village halls. Read ACRE’s latest guidance on CRCC’s website offering information and practical help on re-opening village halls.
The information sheet provides practical advice, risk assessments, checklists, questionnaires for users and links to government guidance. CRCC hope this will help ease some of the burden and provide reassurance on the steps volunteers running community buildings may need to take to reopen safely as and when trustees decide it is right for their hall to do so.
The Information sheet is being updated as and when Government Guidelines change. CRCC will ensure that the latest information is sent to those who are on their Community Buildings mailing list – you can sign up here.
Step Two: 12 April
- Only the group activities shown here are permitted. Other activities (eg art classes, clubs, WIs, craft groups, Parish Council meetings) will not yet be permitted.
- Food and alcohol can be served to those seated in outdoor settings, or as takeaways, alcohol served without the need for a meal, subject to the rule of 6.
- Indoor gyms and dance studios can re-open, but only for people on their own or in household groups. Halls can therefore be used for indoor sports and dance practice by household groups but not exercise or dance classes.
- Funerals can take place with up to 30 people; wakes and weddings will be allowed up to 15 guests. (Restaurants and hotels will not yet be open
- Supervised activities for children can open, including dance classes, musical activities, cubs, scouts, brownies, for all children, in accordance with Government guidance for Out of School Settings.
- Parent and child groups can take place indoors, e.g., parent and toddlers, with up to 15 attending plus under-fives.
- Non-essential retail can re-open e.g., hairdressers, charity shops.
- Outdoor gatherings or events organised by a business, charity, public body, or similar organisation, can be held under Covid-19 secure conditions, enabling a village fete or spectators at a sports match, subject to the rule of 6. Guidance has been issued that marquees can be erected, and outdoor markets and car boot sales held for up to 56 days p.a. without requiring planning consent.
The social contact rules will continue to apply in all settings – meaning social distancing must be maintained, indoors no mixing allowed between different households. Outdoors the “rule of 6” applies: Up to 6 people or 2 households can meet.
“Indoor events that bring people together – even if they do not mix with other households – must not run until Step 3. This is only permitted if there is an explicit exemption – this includes support groups, supervised activities for children, parent-and-child groups (up to 15 people, not counting those aged under five), communal worship, or a wedding, reception or commemorative event like a wake.”Government guidance issued on 25 February 2021 on re-opening businesses and venues in England
This document also provides visual detail of how to set out the centre – however it is likely you will receive guidance from community centre renters.
Cornwall Association of Local councils has produced a helpful info sheet around managing meetings and gatherings, some of which is very helpful for those with community premises.
Community Matters report
Towards the end of 2020 Community Matters undertook some research into how community spaces had adapted to the the issues of the COVID Pandemic and also what the future sustainability issues were going to be.
The report from this research “How many of us had “Pandemic” in our risk register” was published early Jan 2021. You can download your copy here.
CRCC are also drawing halls attention to the risk of transmitting Legionnaires diseases in premises whose water systems have not been operated during lock down. It is important hot and cold water systems are flushed through, for the minimum recommended time to avoid potential risk of disease. Please see guidance for further details and safety precautions to take whilst doing so.
Financial support for Village Halls
Most charitable run village halls are eligible for a Government Grant of £10,000. Accessing the grant has been linked to the business rates system for ease of identifying businesses. CRCC are still hearing from halls who mistakenly think they are not eligible as they receive 100% rate relief. This is not the case and most charitable run halls are entitled to the grant, which is designed to help with the fixed costs associated with maintaining premises at a time when they must be closed. If you haven’t applied, call Cornwall Council on 0300 1234 171, (with your business rates account number). We would encourage halls to act urgently.
Which halls are open?