Village Hall

Our Hall is an unusually large one due to the Village School and the Community pooling its resources, so that instead of two small halls we have one large one. It will take a maximum of 200 persons seated. For entertainment like quizzes and dances involving tables etc we are limited practically to 150. We have over 200 chairs 22 six foot tables and 9 three foot tables.

The Hall is laid out as a gymnasium and with the School it doubles as a dining room for which it has a modern kitchen fully compliant with current regulations (the Stainless Steel Regs.) The kitchen is not ideally equipped to cook from basic ingredients in commercial quantities but for more modest functions there are a selection of hotplates and other appliances. The main equipment is to handle pre-prepared cooked and hot or cooked and chilled food see “new cooker” This is ideal for functions using outside caterers with their own kitchens because the hall hire does not need to start early. Typically hirers use outside caterers bringing the food in in hot boxes and our large heated wheeled cabinet then keeps the food hot ready to serve. Modest stocks of crockery cutlery kettles and urns etc complete the facilities.

The Village Hall is jointly owned by the Village, the School and the Church. This came about because the old village hall and some property, also gifted to the village, to provide income to fund that hall, all fell into disrepair. By selling all this property a deal was struck as follows. The School at the time reflected the size of the village and could only have a small hall. The Village needed a large hall too so we pooled our resources to raise the finance to build one and the Church joined in by providing the adjoining land on which to build the new hall. The deal was enshrined in a legal deed known as the “Sharing Agreement” The School owns it during school hours term-time, the village owns it outside school hours and Saturdays and the Church owns it Sundays.

The village money was placed in trust as a Registered Charity and a Village Hall Management Committee set up to manage the Hall. Note that the name of the charity is the Elsenham Village Hall but this refers to the fund resulting from the sale of the old one not the new one. The current Hall as a building is not a charity, it is jointly owned property.

Village Members of the Village Hall Management Committee are automatically trustees of the charity and are registered as such on joining.

The charitable fund has the provision of a hall and recreational facilities for the village as its prime directive and so must have an income to at least cover its costs thus the hall must levy charges for its use. At their lowest level, low budget village organisations pay fees which barely cover caretaker costs. Above those minimal fees a scale of charges has been agreed reflecting both costs and potential for wear and tear and deposits added to reflect potential for damage and excessive cleaning costs.

Recent bad experiences have necessitated a far more selective approach to letting, leading us to decline hirings likely cause difficulty in restoring the hall to a useable state in time for its next user.

So that everybody is in no doubt as to the policy of the Village Hall Management Committee new terms and conditions are being prepared and we are using the ACRE model as a guide. (Action with Communities in Rural England) A draft of the Standard Conditions of Hire are published here and can be accessed by clicking on the button below. Until this document is approved and adopted the old terms continue in force.

Please note that a decision by the Village Hall Management Committee or any of its officers empowered to make such decisions, is final. There is no appeal procedure as above the Committee is only the Charity Commission and their responsibility is entirely concerned with the charitable fund, they have no interest in the day to day running of the hall.