Information to help village halls reopen updated again. Latest version from our national body @ACRE_national available. Please click on link for further information and up-to-date guidance

by Phillip Vincent, ACRE

National charity, Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) has published updated information to help village halls reopen in light of new government guidance.

Since 4 July, England’s 10,000+ village halls have been allowed to reopen. But government rules on social distancing, as well as the activities that are permitted to take place in these community buildings are complicated and frequently changing.

Many village halls are run by local volunteers, most of whom are not familiar with interpreting complex legal guidance. Thankfully, help has been on hand from a network of county-based village halls advisers who have been able to explain the new rules using information sheets prepared by ACRE – CCB is the Berkshire representative.

The charity first published information to help village halls reopen in June and was met with an overwhelmingly appreciative response.

ACRE is continually reviewing the Information Sheet to make sure it is compliant with changing government rules on social distancing.

UPDATE – On 18.09.20 ACRE’s Information Sheet was updated once again to reflect the most recent government rules on social distancing. It confirmed that groups of more than 6 people can meet in village halls provided appropriate social distancing measures are taken. It also provided advice on keeping temporary records of attendees to assist with NHS Track and Trace. Amendments were also made to the appendices, particularly Appendix D.

Download the guidance

The following information can be freely used by village halls committees.

Information Sheet – Re-opening Village and Community Halls post COVID-19 closure Updated 18.09.20

Sample COVID-19 Risk Assessment for re-opening Village and Community Halls Updated 18.09.20

Sample Risk Assessment for Hirers Updated 18.09.20

For advice and support, as well as Word versions of these resources, please contact if you are a mamber of Community Building Advice Service. For further information on membership please click here.

New Webinar for West Berkshire: Keeping Village Halls safe and informed about Covid-19 Rules & Regulations

Connecting Communities in Berkshire are running this webinar for Trustees/Volunteers that run Community Buildings/Village Halls in West Berkshire.

This training will cover:

• Management Committee concerns about the safety of activities that regular hirers want to start providing

• Hygiene requirements

• Shared responsibly & working with Hirers

• Flexibility through the expected ‘phases’ and ‘changes’ during the Pandemic

• Latest government updates regarding hirers and what is/isn’t allowed in community buildings

• Facilitate Frequently Asked Questions session and a chance for volunteers/trustees to share knowledge and experiences
Free to CBAS members, £15 to CCB members and £25 to non members.

Update from our Community Buildings Advisor – Keeping Halls in Berkshire Safe and Well with the ‘rule of 6’

From 14 September, 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. 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. Further information on social contact rules, social distancing and the exemptions that exist can be found on the guidance on meeting with others safely. These rules will not apply to workplaces or education settings, alongside other exemptions.

Rules in other venues and activities
Venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines will be able to continue to host more people in total – such as religious services in places of worship – but no one should visit in a group of greater than 6. When you visit one of these places, such as a pub, shop, leisure venue, restaurant or place of worship you should:

  • follow the limits on the number of other people you should meet with as a group – no more than six people unless you all live together (or are in the same support bubble)
  • avoid social interaction with anyone outside the group you are with, even if you see other people you kn
  • provide your contact details to the organiser so that you can be contacted if needed by the NHS Test and Trace programme

Our Community Buidings Advisor, Kate Meads, explains: “My understanding is that you can carry on as described above, but it seems sensible to reiterate to your hirers the need for social distancing and, more importantly, that they ensure that their attendee are in groups of less than 6 if it is necessary to be in groups at all. Hirers also need to understand that they must take names and telephone numbers of attendees for Track & Trace purposes and be able to notify the hirer if there are any positive Covid cases among their clients.”

Some useful guidance:

Safe use of multi-purpose community facilities

If you are involved with running a Community Building and would like to receive regular updates and support from Kate please contact to learn more about our CBAS membership service.

Join the Countryside Clean up 19-20th September.

The Countryside Alliance is delighted to announce that the annual Countryside Clean-up has been rescheduled and will take place on 19 and 20 September, following its earlier postponement due to the coronavirus.

Building on from the success of this initiative over the past two years, the Countryside Alliance is urging all members and supporters to engage with this community event by taking
part in dedicated litter-picking sessions across the country over the two-day period. Whether this be conducted on your own, with your family or in a socially-distanced manner with
a larger group, we are encouraging everybody who respects the countryside to take part in this initiative to clean up the countryside.

Fly-tipping and littering in the countryside became one of the many negative side-effects of the pandemic, particularly when local waste recycling centres were shut, so the
Countryside Clean-up is more important than ever. “There are few things that annoy those living in rural areas as much as mindless littering and our supporters have always been keen to take practical steps to clean up their part of the countryside,” explained Tim Bonner, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance.

“Relying on one part of the community to clear up after another is not a satisfactory solution to littering and flytipping, however in previous years our supporters have cleaned up miles of roadside verges, footpaths and open spaces and I am sure the same will be true again this September.”

To register your litter-pick or for more information please visit

Job Opportunity to join our counterparts in Oxfordshire – Community Planning Officer


Community First Oxfordshire (CFO) requires a qualified Town Planner with a range of skills, a flexible approach and a creative mind. This is a busy, varied, and challenging role. The Community Planning Officer will: 1- manage CFO’s portfolio of Neighbourhood Planning commissions and actively seek new opportunities; and 2- research, develop and assist in the delivery of new, community-focused planning services.

2 year fixed term position. 28hrs per week £32-35,000 per annum pro rata. Deadline for application: 30 September 2020. For more information on the post and details on how to apply please visit: