FENLANDER: Newton Village Hall Committee first to receive Hallmark accreditation

RESIDENTS in Newton have good reason to claim that they have the best run village hall in Fenland.

The hall’s management committee has become the first in Fenland to achieve the nationally recognised Hallmark accreditation.

Hallmark is recognised by the Charity Commission as a standard that all community buildings and village halls should aim to achieve. Newton’s accreditation, at Level 1, recognises the quality of the way the hall is run, both in terms of maintenance and financial management.

James Hoyles, who has been chairman of the management committee for the past 10 years, said: “Anyone who lives here already knows we’ve been managing the hall very well. But gaining the Hallmark accreditation really helps to put us on the map.

“The recognition that you have a well-run hall gives you extra credibility and you can use the logo mark to promote it. You can also get a discount on your insurance premium – we are looking into that now.

“We’re very proud of what we have achieved. It has taken a lot of hard work from all the committee members and I’d like to pay tribute to them.

“We’ve already done a lot to make it more attractive for group activities. We think we can now promote it more and bring in more people.”

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Mr Hoyles stressed the importance of having a strong committee, with members who were willing to devote time and effort to the work. They needed to be receptive to new ideas and be able to think on their feet, he said.

The hall, which has had a major refurbishment over the past two years, is available for hire at reasonable rates. It already hosts a wide range of community activities for people of all ages but the management committee is actively working to bring in more new groups.

The Hallmark assessment was carried out at Newton by specially-trained “visitors” from other village halls in Cambridgeshire. It was organised through Cambridgeshire ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England).

Committee members were presented with their certificate by Julie Weekes, ACRE’s community facilities advisor.

Fenland District Council recently awarded Newton a community grant of �1,164 for facilities at the village hall and a capital grant of nearly �27,000 for new play equipment on the playing field. It also assisted the village hall committee in its application for an extra �4,000 in funding from the Lottery’s Awards for All scheme.

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