Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) is calling on England’s 10,000 village halls to make sure policies and procedures are in place to keep everyone safe.
The charity which heads up England’s largest rural grouping of community support agencies, including Devon Communities Together, will be raising an awareness of measures that can be taken by halls to protect individuals from harm as part of Safeguarding Adults 2020.
Safeguarding Adults 2020 is a national campaign run by Ann Craft Trust. ACRE’s involvement in this national campaign is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and has the aim of sharing resources and best practice amongst community groups.
Paul Dixon, ACRE’s Rural Evidence Manager said: “We want volunteers managing village halls to understand they have an important part to play in creating safe spaces for members of their community, especially when it comes to protecting younger or more vulnerable rural people. Over the campaign we will be highlighting the importance of having safeguarding policies and procedures in place, how everyone has a responsibility to look out for others, and where to find help”
A recent national survey conducted by ACRE showed that village halls are a vital asset for many rural communities. 60% of halls provide the only meeting space in the local area, whilst 80% of respondents knew someone whose lives had changed for the better as a result of joining activities at their local hall.
Halls can continue to improve lives through adopting effective safeguarding practices and policies, to ensure that everyone is protected in rural areas.
Devon Communities Together (DCT) is Devon’s independent community development charity and is working with village hall trustees from all over Devon to support them with safeguarding guidance. Halls that are members of Devon Communities Together will get advice on developing, implementing and maintaining safeguarding policies and practices by DCT’s community buildings advisor. To join Devon Communities Together, community building trustees can visit www.devoncommunities.org.uk, call 01392 248919 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.