Success for 24 Community Buildings across Somerset

CCS LogoCommunity Council for Somerset (CCS) proudly awarded 24 Community Buildings the Hallmark quality standard at the annual Training and Networking event held on the 15th October at Edington Village Hall.

CCS supports Community Buildings and, since 2002, Hallmark has promoted the delivery of effective and well-managed community buildings. The standard recognises their achievement in managing their hall to a nationally recognised standard endorsed by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) and acknowledged by the Charity Commission.

There are three standards of recognition. This year 21 achieved Hallmark One – focusing on charity administration and management, 14 achieved Hallmark Two – focusing on health, safety, security and licences and 9 achieved Hallmark Three – focusing on community, social awareness, forward planning and development.

CCS also annually awards a District Hallmark Award (of the halls entered in 2015). The peer visitors who carry out the visits take note of distinctive halls, which have really shown hard work and commitment to their community.

The District winners were:

  • Mendip – Chilcompton Village Hall
  • Sedgemoor – Edington Village Hall
  • South Somerset – North Cadbury Village Hall
  • Taunton Deane – Langford Budville Village Hall
  • West Somerset – St Audries Village Hall
Community Buildings Officer Nicola Greenslade said: “It is wonderful to see so many of our county’s volunteers achieve the Hallmark standard; it is so important to recognise our volunteers for their hard work. Community facilities are central to our rural communities as most often they are there at the most important times.”

Also alongside the Village Halls awards CCS held their Annual General Meeting (AGM), followed by a Rural Conference. The Rural Conference covered three main topics, Housing, Transport and the Services CCS offer to communities.

Guest speaker Lord Cameron of Dillington was first to present and discussed ‘The Challenge of Change in the Countryside’ an update on the reality of rural growth, covering topics: broadband, access to training for business, access to housing and transport. Next Steve Watson and Alison Ward of the Wessex Community Land Trust Project, explained the project and how communities can get involved. Liz Maunder gave an inspiring example of Stoke sub Hamden Community Land Trust; showcasing what a community can do when working together, building affordable housing, running the village shop and soon to be running the post office

The last guest speaker was Linda Brown, Stogursey Stagecoach car scheme, showing how communities are doing it for themselves, recognising a transport issue and providing a local service to those who need it most, from trips to the doctors, hairdressers and supermarkets. Although this seems small it can often be the only time some of the residents get to leave the village.

Keeley Rudd, Acting Chief Executive said: “We had an interesting and informative day, hearing from inspirational Somerset projects who have taken action in their communities to develop local solutions to local problems. The feedback from the event has been overwhelmingly positive and it really demonstrates the resourcefulness of Somerset’s rural communities”.