Day 3 of Small Charity Week is ‘Policy Day’ and the aim is to encourage small charities to ‘raise their profile and engage with influencers’. ACRE’s Network of Village and Community Halls provides an opportunity for volunteers managing small charitable halls to do just that. The National Village & Community Hall Network was launched to provide an online presence and enable these small charities to come together to make a difference. So far over 350 have signed up and been kept in touch with topical legislative developments through a series of Bulletins. Access to the Bulletins and more information about the NVCHN can be found here.
Village and community halls are small charities that provide multipurpose community facilities in rural areas. Halls provide a focus for local democratic engagement, a venue for supporting local community groups and a venue for supporting health needs of local residents. Run and managed by volunteers the buildings have to be fit for purpose and compliant with a range of Health, Safety and licensing legislation as well as making sure they are fully insured, submit their annual Charity Commission returns and raise enough funds to keep the facilities running. Engaging with influencers is vital to ensure that new and changing legislation does not provide additional burdens for volunteers and their charity.
As a charity, ACRE aims to be the voice of rural communities in national debate and the ACRE Network enables us to have national coverage, with local reach. The work and experience of the Network is not only available to support small charities in England’s rural communities, it is also used to inform and influence Government departments and other national policy-makers. We have a proud track record of using grassroots evidence and locally gathered information to represent the views and needs of rural communities. ACRE’s recently launched ‘Election Asks’ for this new Government sets out the priorities we believe will encourage thriving rural communities. The document could not have been written without direct engagement with local volunteers, small charities and other organisations and their involvement will remain important as we continue to champion the importance of putting rural communities at the heart of government policy.
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and keep up to date with the latest work of the ACRE Network. We are always keen to hear what is happening in England’s rural communities, so we’ll do our best to follow you back as well and look forward to keeping in touch.