Local village halls come together at BAVs event


THE Berwickshire Federation of Village Halls, supported by BAVS, organised a very successful event at Gavinton Village Hall last month with 12 out of 24 local village halls represented.

The event was opened by Kelvin Butler, Chairman of the Federation. Philippa Wetton, Development Worker at BAVS, then gave an overview of the Community Toolkit located on the home page of the BAVS website (http://onlineborders.org.uk/community/bavs).

Philippa explained the wealth of information held within the toolkit and how free text search, A to Z listing and simple step guide browsing tools enable you to quickly and easily find the information you are looking for.

The toolkit includes information on: The Third Sector, Setting up a Community Group, Managing and Developing your Group, Generating Income, Find a Funder, People Management, Volunteering, Resource Management, Community Planning, Jargon Buster and the ability to sign up to E-bulletins and RSS feeds. There are sample policies and template forms that can help groups save time, and avoid duplication.

A short presentation was then given on the Keystone Scheme – a quality award for the people who manage village halls and community buildings. A successful pilot project earlier this year has initiated roll out across Scotland of this Award Scheme, available to any community building interested in taking part.

Philippa Wetton described how Keystone helps make sense of legislation and regulation and puts systems in place to keep community buildings running smoothly.

It acts as a simple good housekeeping guide reassuring groups that they are doing things right. Further information can be found on the Federation website (http://onlineborders.org.uk/community/bfvh) or alternatively by contacting the BAVS office on 01361 883137.

Liz Walthew, from Whitsome Village Hall then gave an overview of the Online Borders free community website facility, explaining how free training was available to interested groups.

She showed examples of Borders village hall website pages demonstrating the variety and flexibility of online borders websites. To find out more go to http://onlineborders.org.uk/.

Kenny McLean, Graduate Intern at BAVS, explained how the Federation plans to develop the website over the coming months, giving suggestions for how information on the site could be organised and ideas for items included.

This offered an opportunity for village halls to give their suggestions for information they would like to access via the site.

Kenny also gave an update on progress made with the village hall publicity brochure and directed people to the completed new Federation Leaflet and Village Hall Handbook which are now downloadable from the Federation website.

A Practical Advice Panel was then formed by several village hall committee member volunteers, including; Charles Inness and Liz Walthew (Whitsome), Joanna Marshall (Lamberton) and Malcolm Fowler (Foulden).

The panel offered the chance for an informal Question and Answer session, an opportunity to ask advice and share experiences on Health and Safety, Licensing, Risk Assessment and any other related issues.

The session proved very worthwhile offering exchange of first hand experience in these areas and sharing of relevant organisation/authority contact information.