For Village Halls Week, we wanted to highlight the impact that village halls make to their communities across the UK.
We have chosen to spotlight Long Sutton Village Hall in Somerset. Below we discuss the background and management of the hall, helpful advice for other village hall committees looking to maximise the use of their village hall as well as their positive experiences with insuring their village hall.
Can you tell us about your village hall?
A villager very kindly donated a huge amount of land a couple of decades ago, resulting in a copious car park, large recreation grounds, and a fabulous village hall. The hall can seat approximately 200 people with a stage and lighting. There is a backstage area and dressing area as well as a meeting room and well-equipped kitchen.
Who runs or manages your village hall? How many volunteers help out?
Under the auspices of the Parish Council as a Trust, a Village Hall committee of six manages the hall. All of the committee members are volunteers, but the bookings clerk receives a stipend, and the cleaner is paid for her time.
What events/activities take place in your village hall? How has COVID-19 impacted this?
The venue was used extensively for a wide variety of activities including Yoga, Scottish Country Dancing, Pilates and Indoor Bowls. We play host to a number of lectures from the Woman’s Institute and other similar groups. We hold fundraising events and host clubs for the community, such as gardening.
Since the impact of COVID-19, the village hall has been on total shutdown. For now, the hall is saved for the NHS Blood Transfusion Service, who are a regular customer.
What is the biggest challenge for your village hall right now?
Thanks to the generous funding of the South Somerset District Council, we have had no financial concerns. With the funding we purchased a ‘fogger’ to ensure disinfection of the village hall.
Do you have any future projects or plans for your village hall?
Many and huge! Our largest project is to ‘go green’. We have already installed Tesla Batteries for the large Solar Cell array on the roof, air heat pumps for heating and air conditioning, new roof insulation as well as new lighting and heating. Major grant applications have been made, and more are underway.
What advice would you give to other communities looking to get the most out of their village hall?
We have found the Hallmaster Booking System to be very effective, and popular with users, this is something that other village hall committees should investigate. We also have a large car park which is a major advantage to our village hall.
How did you find your experience with BHIB when insuring your village hall?
Superb! They enabled us to cut our insurance costs in half, and offer useful desktop tools to help ensure that correct and complete valuations are in place.
Would you recommend BHIB to others looking to insure their village hall?
100%. The service has been excellent, the company very helpful, and the rates most competitive.
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