An Invitation from Lincolnshire Co-op

Don’t forget to contact your local Lincolnshire Co-op, they have been extremely supportive of all communities at this time and you may be able to get cleaning materials for your hall!

Lincolnshire Community Facilities News

Lincolnshire Co-op would like to invite community venue committees to apply to their Community Champions scheme. If successful you could receive between £500 and £1000.

They also have an opportunity for you to apply for goods, such as cleaning materials, to help you open safely.

For more information, please download their letter to village and community hall committees.

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Launched today! Results of the 2020 National Village Hall Survey

Just before lockdown 2,109 halls from across England took part in the National Village Halls Survey 2020 which provides a detailed snapshot of the operations and management of community buildings across the country.

The survey found that village halls make a significant contribution to the economy.

Read the ACRE press release and download the report to find out how halls derive extensive economic and social benefits for rural communities.

Rule of 6 and ACRE updates

The “Rule of 6” is still causing some confusion – you are allowed more than 6 people in your hall – up to the capacity identified in your risk assessment allowing for social distancing rules.

Once in your building, people can meet together in groups of up to 6 people, however government guidance encourages social distancing by people not from the same households (including bubbles). So 6 people can sit or stand together – ideally they will be from the same household or bubble but it is up to individuals to make this decision if they come from an outside household or bubble.

The ACRE Guidance documents have been revised again this week to reflect recent Government and NHS updates, helping you to ensure your community building remains Covid-19 secure. All documents are now available on the Google Drive.

Please note, you don’t need to ask for permission to access the files, this is a quirk of Google Docs unfortunately. You can just download the whole folder or individual files by right clicking on the folder or file and choosing ‘download’. Please download the documents before trying to open!

“COVID-19 Information Sheet – Opening your hall after lockdown” is now on version 7 as of 30th September 2020, but only to reflect the changes in the following appendices:

  • Appendix C – A Sample Wall Poster. Point 6, has been revised to reflect the wording required in new Regulations regarding the wearing of face coverings. 
  • Appendix D has been revised to reflect the reduction in permitted attendance at weddings, civil partnerships, receptions  and funerals. There is a summary of the new legal requirements on bars, members’ clubs, cafes and similar hospitality venues (e.g. closing times, no dancing, group limit of 6, table service only).  
  • Appendix E Special Condition 9 (SC9), has been amended to reflect the new legal requirement for hirers to keep records of contact details of those who attend activities and encourage use of a NHS QR poster at the hall.
  • Appendix M has been updated to explain the new legal requirements for display of a NHS QR poster, manual systems of collecting data and keeping of records for Test and Trace. The information is different to that released earlier this week as it has been confirmed that the hall committee is expected to register for an NHS QR code and display the official NHS QR poster at or inside the entrance.  You must also keep records of hirers’ contact details. Hirers can also choose to have their own QR code, more information is available in the Appendix.

Image by Wilfried Pohnke from Pixabay

Cancellation of John Barker Award 2020

Organisers of the John Barker Trophy have announced that the 2020 awards will not take place this year as originally planned.

The awards began in 2004 to celebrate and recognise the work of those volunteers who give their time and effort to manage and maintain community buildings. For many years Village Halls and Community Centres across Lincolnshire were able to call upon the technical expertise of John Barker on building related matters.

When John retired from volunteering, the Directors of Community Lincs established the ‘The John Barker Trophy’.

John Barker said “In these extraordinary times when the whole county has risen to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic it doesn’t feel appropriate to be highlighting some individuals, organisations and communities ahead of others. Many halls have been closed for a period of time and some continue to be, however we know volunteers work tirelessly in the background to maintain buildings until they can be put back into use again.”

Samantha Smith, Village Halls Advisor at YMCA Community Lincs added “The decision was not taken lightly, we remain in a difficult situation as we gradually emerge from lockdown, and we continue to face ongoing challenges.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a very big thank you to everyone that volunteers to maintain village and community halls across Lincolnshire, your dedication has been an inspiration at this time and I feel honoured to be able to support you. We may not be able to thank you in a celebratory event, but you are very much appreciated”.

It is hoped that the awards will be back again next year when, we hope, some normality will have returned and we can celebrate the hard work of our volunteers again.

QR Codes, the Test and Trace App & the rule of 6

Test and Trace UK

The UK is currently experiencing a public health emergency as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. NHS QR code posters are a key part of the the ongoing COVID-19 response.

NHS QR code posters are a quick, simple and secure way for visitors to anonymously register that they’ve been to your venue.

They enable people to have a digital diary of the places they’ve visited, to help with contact tracing, and they help visitors to quickly receive public health advice if necessary.

From 24th September the Regulations for the Collection of Contact Details require every hirer or organisation using a community hall to comply with the obligation to register for an NHS QR code, display the official NHS QR poster and keep records for Test and Trace and every community hall to ensure hirers comply.

Appendix M of the ACRE guidance for opening your hall is now available to download from our Google Drive. This comprehensive document gives details on what is required by your hirers, yourselves as managers of a community building and those that enter your hall.

Download the app now: Google Play Store or Apple App Store

If someone does not wish to share their details, entry does not have to be refused. You will still need to offer a manual option for recording visitors’ contact details, for people who do not have a smartphone or do not want to use the NHS COVID-19 app. More FAQs are available on the NHS Website.

The Rule of 6

There appears to be continued misunderstanding that the group limit of up to 6 means larger activities cannot take place. They can, but 2m social distancing must be maintained between each group of 6 people (unless an exemption applies).

Within groups of 6 however, government guidance encourages social distancing by people not from the same households (including bubbles), but that is up to individuals. The obligation is clearly on all activity organisers to avoid mingling by people from different groups. 

Although Government guidance is often released very quickly and at first read it can be confusing, information is constantly being updated, particularly where there is confusion. So with this in mind, we are pleased to note that section 3c of Government Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities is now clearer:

COVID-secure community facilities are permitted to hold social groups, clubs and activities in groups of no more than 6. Community facilities can host multiple groups of 6, subject to capacity, but groups must not mix socially or form larger groups.

Until next time…

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Breaking news!

ACRE’s Information Sheet has been updated once again this week to reflect the most recent government rules on social distancing and is now ready for you to download from our Google Drive. Please download before opening or requesting access, any problems please do let me know.

Key changes:

  • Section 2.2c and Appendix D: There are substantial changes to explain and reflect the new group limit of 6, including the addition of a new section B and table with examples to Appendix D. These are headed Rules on Social Interaction, to distinguish them from rules on Social Distancing.

    Clarifications on limits for religious ceremonies of 30.

    A revision to section on celebrations and lifestyle events.
  • Appendix D: Out of date references have also been removed (e.g. to nail bars not being able to open, wind instruments not being allowed).
  • Appendix E: The Special Conditions of Hire have been adjusted to reflect the rules around Test and Trace. There is no need to require hirers to sign that they have collected contact information, they only need to sign the hiring agreement to confirm they will. It is then their responsibility. To confirm – it is the responsibility of the hirer to keep any records they collect, there is no need for the committee to collect this data.
  • Appendix F and G: A new line added to the Risk Assessment to reflect new social distancing requirements and risk of people in groups of 6 or less mingling. In the covering text in the Information Sheet there is a reminder that hirer groups using Appendix G should think about it, not just “adopt it” to satisfy a governing body.
  • Appendix J, K: Minor amendments to remove out of date prohibitions on singing, wind and brass, and update limits on outdoor groups, including spectators.

Other notes from ACRE regarding enquiries from committees around the country:

Drop in centres: As services for vulnerable people these are likely to be exceptions from the group limit rules, and organisers should be very conscious of the need for social distancing, so these can take place subject to Covid-19 Risk Assessment.

Slimming world: Although organisers of such weight loss businesses are “at work” at a hall, they cannot assume the exceptions on group limits apply to people attending their business activity and they must respect the need for social distancing for any vulnerable clients (whether or not they attend in a group). This is reflected in the new part B of Appendix D.

Safe areas: Designating a safe area into which someone can be moved if they appear to have developed Covid-19 symptoms is a matter of best practice. It just needs to be a place where others can be kept away from them until they have transport home. It could be the kitchen, accessible toilet, the end of an unused corridor, committee room, but avoid using a place others are more likely to need to access, such as the toilets, entrance hall or exit routes.

Shops and indoor markets and Test and Trace: Community Shops and indoor markets have to follow Government guidance for shops so do not need to comply with Test and Trace requirements. It’s difficult to amend the Information Sheet to allow for such exceptions, a hall can just strike it out of the hire agreement for that activity. The same would apply for a Christmas Fayre.

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Live & Local RestART 2 Audience Survey

Live & Local is a not-for-profit arts organisation working with a network of voluntary groups across Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire. They provide a range of support for arts activities that keep people in touch with their communities and enhance their quality of life.

Live & Local are now keen to hear the thoughts of audiences and how people feel about attending Live & Local performances in local community venues again in the future. You can read more on their newsletter here.

Please help Live & Local in Lincolnshrie by sharing this survey with your community!

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

14th September Ruling – Community Facilities Permitted to exceed the 6 Rule

Thank you for your patience over the past few days.

On 9th September 2020 the government announced new measures to suppress the virus and keep the number of infections down. From 14th September 2020, whether indoors or outdoors, people from different households must not meet in groups of more than 6. This limit does not apply to meetings of a single household group or support bubble which is more than 6 people. 

However community facilities following COVID-19 secure guidelines, can host more than 6 people in total, but no one should visit or socialise in a group of greater than 6 when attending an event or activity. 

Click Here for Government Guidance on the Safe Use of Multi-Purpose Community Facilities – section 2.2.

If partaking in permitted activities, users of COVID-19 secure community facilities should limit their social interactions with anyone they do not live with. Whilst activities may have 6 or more people participating (where it is safe to do so and capacity permits) it is important for all parties to maintain socially distant, 2 metres or 1 metre with actions taken to reduce the risk of transmission (where 2 metres is not viable) between households. For example, use of face coverings and encouraging good hand hygiene on entering premises and throughout visit.

ACRE will publish a further update of the relevant information sheet in light of these recent Government changes. I will upload this information to our Google Drive, and post to this news blog in due course.

Image by Natalia Ovcharenko from Pixabay

ACRE Village Hall Network – General News Update

The latest news from the National Village and Community Halls Network is now available. In this edition:

2020 National Village Hall Survey

National Village Halls Week 2021

HM Treasury Business Rates Review – Call for Evidence

Grants and funding

You can view more on the newsletter by clicking this link. Don’t forget to sign up if you’ve not already done so.