Meet the speakers: Suffolk Village Halls and Community Buildings Conference 2017

October 11, 2017

Categories: CAS announcements | Events

Organised by Community Action Suffolk, the Suffolk Village Halls and Community Building Conference will bring together all those involved with such buildings.

  • Thursday 2 November 2017
  • 10am to 3:30pm (registration and market place from 9.30am)
  • The Blackbourne Centre, Elmswell
  • £25 per delegate (lunch and refreshments included), payment to be made at time of booking

Find out more hereBook your place(s) here


Meet the speakers

Deborah Clark, Rural Evidence Manager at ACRE

“If you are a volunteer helping to support a village hall or community building then ACRE recommends you attend Suffolk’s Village Halls & Community Buildings Conference. There will be something for everyone from practical help with insurance and electrical safety to governance and incorporation. It will be an opportunity to share the ups and downs of managing a hall with other volunteers.

“My presentation covers issues for halls now and what they need to consider for the future. This leads into how the ACRE Network and the new National Network for Village and Community Halls is working to influence government and policy makers.”


The Hub – Huntingfield, Heveningham & Ubbeston Village Hall

  • How do you move from a 1918 ex army hut to a state-of-the-art village hall fit for the 21st Century?
  • How do you even attempt to reduce social isolation, increase community cohesion and provide opportunities for learning, health & well-being and fun?

These were the big questions which faced the three villages in the 1970s, then again in 2008, finally in 2013 we found the answer!

So, a very long lead-in time! With the help of a dedicated group of individuals, the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Buildings fund which granted the project just short of half a million pounds, Viridor Credits which gave a further generous sum of money, as well as many small donors, success eventually came to these three villages in the north east of the county.

Want to find out how we did it? What were the pitfalls? How much work did it entail? Who was involved? How did we carry the community with us? How many hoops did we have to jump through? How did we engage an architect and builder?

Then come along on 2 November to hear the whole story from Sue Lucas and Joan Baker from The Hub‘s Management Team.


Liz Brownsell,  Senior Associate – Charities and Social Enterprise at Birketts LLP

Many village halls and community buildings are unincorporated charities, yet they own property, often act as landlords, and provide services to members of the public. As such, there is a risk of claims being made against the charity by third parties. For unincorporated charities, this brings with it a risk of personal liability for the Trustees / Managing Committee Members. Whilst this risk can be mitigated with appropriate insurance cover, there nevertheless remains a residual risk of personal liability for the individuals who are responsible for running the charity.

Given that Trustees / Managing Committee Members are volunteers simply seeking to contribute to a thriving local community, who are often using precious spare time to help out, the risk of personal liability can (and often does) present a significant barrier to recruiting new Trustees / Managing Committee Members. Becoming a Charitable Incorporated Organisation can help to break down that barrier, as it provides the Trustees of village halls and Managing Committee Members of community buildings with significant protection from claims by third parties against the charity.

To find out more about becoming a CIO, and to hear about the new and cost effective Birketts’ Fixed Fee offer for legal services specifically tailored for unincorporated village halls and community buildings wishing to convert to CIO status (developed in association with Community Action Suffolk), hear from us at the conference on 2 November.

Liz Brownsell, a Birketts’ charities specialist with significant experience advising village halls and community buildings on converting to become CIOs, will be delivering a workshop on key legal issues in the process, and will also be launching the new Birketts’ Fixed Fee offer for village hall / community building CIO conversion (providing you with all the information you need to sign up).


Quick Test, PAT training

Quick Test has trained many people from village halls and community buildings around the country to carry out Electrical appliance risk assessments, inspect electrical appliances and carry out their own PAT testing. Our aim is to educate people on their responsibilities on the safety of electrical appliances in community buildings every day of the year and not just the ‘PAT testing’ day. By completing our training course, village hall trustees/volunteers/staff will understand the risks and know what their responsibilities are even if they don’t want to carry out their own PAT testing.

Cottered Village Hall Trust, said, “We booked our training session with the expectation of learning how to test the small portable appliances in our hall. Kettles and such like. By the end of the training session we realised how much we had underestimated the depth of coverage of the course and the vital importance of what we had been taught. The comprehensive instruction highlighted problem areas that would have previously been overlooked and the ‘hands on’ session  was invaluable in identifying potentially dangerous situations and teaching us what was and what was not acceptable. A more extensive course than had been originally envisaged and one that has ensured that our hall is compliant AND safe. We have no hesitation in recommending Quick Test.”